New Research Findings on Participatory Science Communication

17. May 2024 Science communicationPublic Science
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A current research overview deals with the potential, goals and challenges of participatory formats for the exchange of diverse target groups and science

In addition to the pure transfer of knowledge and insights into research processes, science communication is increasingly concerned with integrating perspectives from civil society into the science system. Researchers from the Universities of Bremen and Bonn and the Institute for Higher Education Research Halle-Wittenberg recently investigated the possibilities and formats for the participation of citizens and civil society actors on behalf of the Transfer Unit Science Communication. In Potentials and Challenges of Participatory Science Communication, the authors identify three basic trends:

  • Democratic participation
  • Participation in knowledge production
  • Scientific education

Participatory science communication is an approach that aims to bridge the gap between science and society. At its heart is the idea that science is not just a matter for experts but should also be actively shaped by the public. This is linked to high expectations. In addition to gaining new insights and increasing knowledge on all sides, participation also promises to democratize science. However, a look at research shows that genuine participation is associated with many challenges. These include reaching people who are not yet interested in scientific topics or who are skeptical about science, the lack of a legal basis for the use of collaboratively collected data, ensuring scientific quality and taking into account the limited time resources of participants.

How to deal with these challenges and exploit the potential of participation was summarized in recommendations. Among other things, they contain tips on how to design the framework conditions for participatory projects, what needs to be considered during implementation and how to deal with the results of participatory projects.


Further information

Further information on science communication can be found in our dossier "Wisskomm".