Outreach as a Unifying Concept in Science Education and Science Communication

Date: 
Thursday, December 1, 2016
Resource Type:
Research | Literature Review
Environment Type: 
Media and Technology, Public Programs, Community Outreach Programs, Museum and Science Center Programs, Informal/Formal Connections
Audience: 
Administration/Leadership/Policymakers | Educators/Teachers | Museum/ISE Professionals | Learning Researchers
Discipline: 
Education and learning science
Organization:
CIRES Education and Outreach, University of Colorado
Description: 

Recently there have been many calls for enhanced communication between scientists and the public in order to increase scientific literacy and improve attitudes toward science. However, these educational outreach (E/O) efforts often encounter structural barriers and the processes that support attainment of the goals of E/O are not well documented. E/O is a form of Informal Science Education (ISE), but E/O literature is often published in both science education and science communication journals because of the various approaches and environments in which it occurs. This unique juxtaposition between fields makes E/O research an ideal subject for determining where there is overlap between science education and science communication and where more work can be done.

This paper provides a look at the current state of the literature on E/O. The goal is to understand what research has been done on E/O, where and how this research has been done, the outcomes of the research, and how to coordinate future research. In order to examine these topics, I used a systematic literature search and performed a thematic analysis of the literature I found. The results show that E/O endeavors are diverse and not well-studied, making it difficult to synthesize our understanding of E/O. In this review, I contend that increasing dialogue between the fields of science education and science communication will help to scaffold the research on E/O. I argue that the field of ISE research can be a useful model for how to accomplish these goals.

Publication Name: 
American Geophysical Union, Fall General Assembly 2016, abstract id. ED11A-0883

Team Members

Katie BoydAuthor

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