Browsing by Subject "science communication"

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  • Lyytikäinen, Veera (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    It is widely acknowledged that previous efforts to communicate the severity and rate of climate change have failed. Science communication has for decades relied on the presumption that more information leads to more informed decisions, thus so far, the scientific consensus about human-caused climate change has not resulted in required changes in behaviour. Previous communication efforts have, for the most part, attributed inaction to the lack of information, but in doing so, have excluded many social and psychological elements of communication. Although raising the level of awareness about climate change has been successful, climate change remains to be perceived to be a distal threat. Recently, more sophisticated approaches have been developed to meaningfully communicate climate change, drawing attention to the framing of the communication. In this study, a new approach to science-based environmental communication is evaluated. The case study seeks to address how immersive Virtual Reality (VR) can be used as a tool in science-based environmental communication for policymakers in a locally relevant context. Via immersive VR, information about forests’ role in climate change is mediated to forest policymakers. In the science communication, climate change is framed as an experiential, local, and present risk, promoting a problem definition that focuses on the climate effects of forest utilisation. I evaluate the success of the science-based environmental communication by measuring participants’ personal responses. I focus on measuring enjoyment, interest, trust, and usability. The study participants are members of the Parliament of Finland and governmental officials from the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry; and the Ministry of the Environment. The study material consists of feedback forms from participants (N=65) and interviews of the key actors (N=7). To consider the historical background and many conflicting interests in Finnish forest and climate politics, I focus on the comparison between the natural resource position and the environmental position. The results of this study offer compelling evidence for how differently policymakers representing these two positions perceive the usage of immersive VR in science-based environmental communication. The environmental position indicated significantly higher levels of success on all measured components. Considering that the science communication framed forest utilisation as an environmental issue, it is not surprising that participants holding the environmental position perceived the science communication to be more enjoyable, interesting, trustworthy, and usable. Accordingly, the study results provide additional support for the idea of Finnish forest policy as a polarised field of policy with two main positions. With the means of immersive VR, I was able to induce strong personal responses to the science communication. Participants holding the natural resource position were more likely to challenge the legitimacy of the information and the use of VR in science communication than participants holding the environmental position. The results point to the likelihood that communicating climate change via immersive VR can induce strong negative emotions in the participants, but when the communication is comparable with the policymaker's policy preferences, they respond more positively. The study results also suggest, that to communicate climate change more meaningfully, immersive VR should be further explored as a supplementary tool in science communication.
  • Väliverronen, Esa; Saikkonen, Sampsa (2021)
    The media have become an important arena where struggles over the symbolic legitimacy of expert authority take place and where scientific experts increasingly have to compete for public recognition. The rise of authoritarian and populist leaders in many countries and the growing importance of social media have fueled criticism against scientific institutions and individual researchers. This paper discusses the new hidden forms of suppression and self-censorship regarding scientists' roles as public experts. It is based on two web surveys conducted among Finnish researchers in 2015 and 2017. We focus on answers to the open-ended questions in these surveys, where respondents reflect upon issues of freedom of expression and the feedback they receive in public arenas. Building on previous research on suppression, "research silencing," and the "chilling effect," we discuss the connection between freedom of expression and freedom of inquiry. We make a distinction between four forms of suppression: political and economic control, organizational control, control between rival academics, and control from publics. Moreover, we make explicit and discuss the means, motives, and practices of suppression within each of these four forms.
  • Lyytimäki, Jari (Suomen ympäristökeskus, 2018)
    SYKEn julkaisuja 3
    Huumori ympäristönsuojelussa on ensimmäinen yhteenveto, jossa esitellään kattavasti, monitieteisesti ja yleistajuisesti huumoritutkimuksen ja ympäristönsuojelun suhdetta. Teoksessa avataan huumorin ominaispiirteitä ja luodaan yleiskuva huumoritutkimuksen erilaisista lähestymistavoista sekä niiden linkeistä ympäristökysymyksiin. Teos käsittelee klassisia huumorin yhteensopimattomuus-, ylemmyys-, huojennusteorioita sekä sosiologista, lääketieteellistä ja evolutiivista huumoritutkimusta. Huumorin ilmenemistä tarkastellaan ympäristönsuojelun eri osa-alueilla, kuten luonnonsuojelussa, vesiensuojelussa ja ilmasto- ja energiakeskustelussa. Teos osoittaa, että huumori on eri muodoissaan läsnä ympäristönsuojelun kaikilla osa-alueilla, kaupunkiluonnosta luomuviljelyyn. Yhteiskunnallisen kiistelyn eri osapuolet hyödyntävät huumoria eri tavoin niin suurpedoista, vanhojen metsin suojelusta kuin vieraslajeistakin väiteltäessä. Teos perustuu laaja-alaiseen tutkimusten yhteenvetoon sekä koti- ja ulkomaisesta julkisesta keskustelusta poimittuihin esimerkkeihin. Teos pohtii erityisesti huumorin käyttöä asiantuntijatiedon rinnalla ja ehdottaa ekologista ironiaa ympäristönsuojelun ratkaisuksi.
  • Jager, Sara E.; Kaurinkoski, Katja (2021)
  • Laherto, Antti; Tirre, Frederike; Parchmann, Ilka; Kampschulte, Lorenz; Schwarzer, Stefan (2018)
    Some level of understanding of and about nanoscience and nanotechnology (NST) has been suggested as being relevant in up-to-date scientific literacy for all. Research scientists working in these fields are central in current efforts to inform and engage the public in NST. Earlier research has shown that scientists can contribute to authentic science learning, but communication always entails roles that affect the choice of content. This study investigated NST researchers’ views on the nature of their research and their preferences in NST communication. Eight experienced professors working in various fields of NST were interviewed. Semi-structured, in-depth interviews focused on the scientists’ views on 1) the nature of their research, and 2) aspects of NST that should be communicated to the public. Qualitative content analysis of the interviews revealed that the themes the interviewees highlighted when describing their research (interdisciplinarity, size scale, methods, objects, nature of NST in general) were somewhat different from the ones they considered as important for communication to the public (applications and products, risks and benefits, visualizations). The results problematize the simplistic notion that exposure to real scientists would unquestionably enhance the authenticity of science learning. This study gives insight for research and development of science communication, especially scientists’ role and training in it.
  • Thuneberg, Helena; Salmi, Hannu (2018)
    This meta-article aimed to explore the role of uncertainty in knowing in informal science learning contexts. Subjects (N=2591) were sixth-graders from four countries. In addition to the correct and incorrect questionnaire alternatives, there was a “don’t know” option to choose if uncertain of the answer. The unique path-analysis finding showed that the role of motivation was uniformly positive on correct and negative on uncertainty of answers. In all contexts the number of correct answers increased, incorrect and uncertain answers decreased. Interestingly, although there was no more difference in knowledge pro boys after the the intervention, the girls were still more uncertain.
  • López-Baucells, Adrià; Rocha, Ricardo; Fernandez-Llamazares Onrubia, Alvaro (2017)
    The recent upsurge in bat-borne virus research has attracted substantial news coverage worldwide. A systematic review of virological literature revealed that bats were described as a major concern for public health in half of all studies (51%), and that their key role in delivering ecosystem services was disregarded in almost all studies (96%). Although research on zoonoses is of the utmost importance, biased framings of bats can undermine decades of conservation efforts. We urge researchers and science communicators to consider the conservation impacts of how research findings are presented to the public carefully, and, whenever possible, to highlight the ecological significance of bats, their dire conservation situation and their importance for human well-being.