EDUCATION AND SCIENCE COMMUNICATION TRAINING: A STUDY WITHIN A RESEARCH FELLOWS NUCLEUS
CIDTFF, University of Aveiro (PORTUGAL)
About this paper:
Conference name: 15th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 7-9 November, 2022
Location: Seville, Spain
Abstract:It is commonly accepted that Social Sciences do not have a tradition in science communication (SC) and the Education field is no exception.
Either because the media does not devote much airtime to it, or because there is a public tendency to associate Education to common sense, educational researchers themselves do not devote much time to communicating the science they develop and, consequently, there are not many SC initiatives in Education. In addition, as in other scientific areas, educational researchers do not have specific training in SC, which makes them less willing to participate in SC initiatives.
Taking this into consideration, a research fellows nucleus of an educational research centre organised a training cycle in SC. This cycle included three independent but complementary workshops: SC, Inclusion of visual elements in SC and Storytelling in SC. The workshop cycle took place in early 2022 and was aimed at doctoral fellows and open to all non-fellowship students of the ongoing Doctoral Programmes. There were 37 participants in the first workshop, 41 in the second and 38 researchers in the third.
Considering this training as an excellent opportunity to better understand the relation between educational researchers and SC, two questionnaires were applied, one before the training and a second one after it. In this presentation, the focus is the results of the first questionnaire, through which we intend to know the profile of the attendees, identify their motivations for attending the training, as well as map their science communication practices. This first study allows us to understand who these researchers are and what they seek to learn in these sessions, so we can identify needs and plan future training proposals, suited to their needs and that effectively contribute to the development of SC in Education.
The data collected indicates that most researchers attending the SC training are full-time PhD Students, under a regime of exclusive dedication associated with a scholarship. Their motivations are related to i) the desire to learn more about techniques and strategies on SC; ii) the need to do SC in order to carry out their research activity and iii) the perception of SC as a competence that they consider new and innovative, but they lack knowledge. The majority of researchers had already participated in science communication initiatives, mainly in open day activities, local science fairs and science weeks, which are the activities in which they intend to continue to participate in the future. Some researchers indicate that their ability to communicate science has increased with practice, but not all feel satisfaction in communicating science due the lack of training in SC. It is also underlined that the volume of work and the lack of funding are seen as barriers to do SC.
These results are in line with studies in other scientific areas in which junior researchers seem to be those who most seek training in SC, namely as a way to contribute to the improvement of their SC practices and increase their skills. In order to develop today's junior researchers into future researchers that communicate their science, it is crucial that the educational research centre promotes more training in SC. It should be seen as a boost for educational researchers to become effective science communicators and simultaneously as a way of supporting the sustainability of the research that is carried out in the research centre.
Keywords: Education, Training, Science Communication, PhD Students, educational research centre.