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The science-media interaction in health care: Opinions of scientists and science journalists on participation in science communication activities

Roefs, Maaike M. (2011) The science-media interaction in health care: Opinions of scientists and science journalists on participation in science communication activities.

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Abstract:Science communication is important for a number of reasons. For example, it enhances awareness, understanding and enjoyment among the public. However, the science-media interaction is often thought to be difficult and barriers are experienced. Research has been performed to investigate the relationship between science and the media, but often lacks an underlying theoretical framework and is limited to the scientists’ perspective only. A more precise understanding of the complex science-media interaction is needed. In this study salient beliefs about participation in science communication activities are explored, for both journalists and scientists, using the theory of planned behavior. Twenty-one scientists and fourteen science journalists were selected and interviewed. A semi-structured interview guide was used to explore the behavioral, normative and control beliefs regarding participation in science communication activities. In addition, respondents were asked about their previous experiences and behavior. Respondents’ beliefs were first arranged according to the theory of planned behavior and then analyzed and arranged into subthemes using an inductive process. Attitude and social norm appeared to be more relevant factors for scientists than they were for journalists. Attitudes were mainly positive for both groups, but the scientists’ fear for possible disadvantages is an important barrier. The peer pressure and criticism of colleagues were important normative beliefs for the scientists. Control beliefs regarding science communication were merely practical issues for the journalists, of which time pressure appeared to be the most important. Mediators are therefore often neglected by journalists, whereas scientists are often not aware of the activities and possible services of mediators. Enhancing the mutual understanding between the scientists and journalists may improve the science-media interaction. Scientists should be informed about how the journalists work and how news is made, and may benefit from a media training. Journalists, on the other hand, should be more aware and understanding about the hesitation and reluctance experienced by the scientists. Mediators can play an important role in improving this mutual understanding. Future quantitative studies are needed to further explore the beliefs regarding the science-media interaction
Item Type:Essay (Master)
LUMC, Leiden University Medical Center
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:05 communication studies
Programme:Communication Studies MSc (60713)
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