Brigitte Mral

The art of communicating research results to the public . Research on the forms and rhetorical tasks of science comunication

The purpose of the planned activity is to initiate research on science communication. Communicating research results to the public, universities statutory "third mission". Forms and channels of this agency are numerous and varied, but there are also a lot of uncertainty about how the individual researchers can best bring out their results. The planned activities intend, by networking prepare a project in the area of "Science of Science Communication". The focus is on dissemination of results in particularly natural sciences. The focus is on issues surrounding verbal and visual design, argumentation, narration, and innovative media and venues. Through critical analysis of existing projects and initiatives in, primarily, Germany and Sweden, the project will, ultimately, provide inspiration and help researchers to develop creative ways to communicate in a popular way and to interact effectively with the public.

2016-2017

The project aimed to prepare a research project in the area of "Science of Science Communication". The focus is on dissemination of scientific results from natural sciences and also human science research. The focus of the analyses is on issues concerning verbal and visual design, argument, narrative, and innovative media and venues.

The first step was to organize workshops concerning issues of research communication to initiate research. The long-term aim of the project is to formulate a research project on rhetorical aspects of science communication. It involves analyzing and critically reviewing popular scientific and educational projects for language, image, performance and other channels and persuasive means. Ultimately, the goal is to provide inspiration and assistance to the researchers in a conscious way to communicate their research to a wider audience in an understandable and interesting way.

In 2016, three workshops were organized. For the various seminars / panels national and international researchers were invited who have an interest in science communication, and (communication) researchers with special interest in methods of popularization of research. The project focuses on the question how, in particular, scientific research, for example astrophysics can be communicated to a wider audience. The goal was also to discuss possible ways to make science more accessible and attractive to young people in particular, including by studying examples from areas that generate a lot of interest (such as space science and astronomy).

The first workshop took place in conjunction with the "Vetenskapsfestivalen" April 14, 2016 in Gothenburg. Invited were Swedish researchers and practitioners in the field of Science Communication:

Cissi Askvall, Föreningen Vetenskap & allmänhet
Robert Cumming, information officer at Onsala Space Observatory
Marie Gelang, lecturer in rhetoric
Lennart Hellspong, prof. Em of rhetoric
Brigitte Mral, professor of rhetoric
Susanne Pelger, Ph.D. in genetics, associate professor of educational science
Julia Tjus, professor Professor of Plasma Physics Astroparticle, Ruhr-University Bochum

At this meeting the above issues were discussed as well as which national and international researchers and practitioners should be invited for an international workshop in autumn 2016.

The second international workshop, with the aim to prepare a research application, took place November 2-4, 2016 with the following participants:

Marie Dacke (Lund), Marie Gelang (Örebro), Lennart Hellspong (Södertörn), Frøydis Hertzberg (Oslo), Jim Madsen (USA), Brigitte Mral (Örebro), Susanne Pelger (Lund), Ann-Marie Pendrill (Lund), Senja Post (Schweiz), Isabel Runebjörk (Stockholm), Julia Serong (Germany), Linda Söderlindh (Stockholm KTH), Julia Tjus (Germany).

Finally, a third workshop was arranged on December 20, in Stockholm with the purpose to formulate an application (Gelang, Mral, Pelger, Runebjörk, Söderlindh).

The project's main results

The discussions generated many new insights and clarification of desirable research. For us the most important result was that the original idea was accepted, namely to focus the project to individual researchers / research group's communicative efforts. The project will neither analyze science journalism or science education. At the same time, both researcher's media contacts and popular science writing are important aspects of the upcoming project.

The project's international presence

The aim of the project was to get the views of the international experts in the field of science communication. The participating international researchers will be integrated into the upcoming project as a reference group.