Strategic science communication as planned behavior: Understanding scientists’ willingness to choose specific tactics

Autoři: John C. Besley aff001;  Kathryn O’Hara aff002;  Anthony Dudo aff003
Působiště autorů: Department of Advertising and Public Relations, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan, United States of America aff001;  School of Journalism and Communication, Carleton University, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada aff002;  Stan Richards School of Advertising and Public Relations, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas, United States of America aff003
Vyšlo v časopise: PLoS ONE 14(10)
Kategorie: Research Article


Strategic science communicators need to select tactics that can help them achieve both their short-term communication objectives and long-term behavioral goals. However, little previous research has sought to develop theory aimed at understanding what makes it more likely that a communicator will prioritize specific communication tactics. The current study aims to advance the development of a theory of strategic science communication as planned behavior based on the Integrated Behavioral Model. It does so in the context of exploring Canadian scientists’ self-reported willingness to prioritize six different tactics as a function of attitudinal, normative, and efficacy beliefs. The results suggest that scientists’ beliefs about ethicality, norms, response efficacy, and self-efficacy, are all meaningful predictors of willingness to prioritize specific tactics. Differences between scientists in terms of demographics and related variables provide only limited benefit in predicting such willingness.

Klíčová slova:

Behavior – Decision making – Research design – Scientists – Social communication – Social theory – Surveys


1. Besley JC, Dudo A, Yuan S, AbiGhannam N. Qualitative interviews with science communication trainers about communication objectives and goals. Science Communication. 2016;38(3):356–81.

2. Miller S, Fahy D, The ESConet Team. Can science communication workshops train scientists for reflexive public engagement? The ESConet experience. Science Communication. 2009;31(1):116–26.

3. Cicerone RJ. Celebrating and rethinking science communication The National Academy of Science: In Focus. 2006;6(3).

4. Lubchenco J, editor. Delivering on science's social contract (Keynote address). Academic Engagement in Public and Political Discourse: Proceedings of the Michigan Meeting May 2015; 2015; Ann Arbor, MI.

5. Holt RD. Why science? Why AAAS? Science. 2015;347(6224):807–. doi: 10.1126/science.aaa9126 25700491

6. Bauer MW, Allum N, Miller S. What can we learn from 25 years of PUS survey research? Liberating and expanding the agenda. Public Understanding of Science. 2007;16(1):79–95.

7. Yeo SK, Brossard D. The (changing) nature of scientist–media interactions. In: Hall Jamieson K, Kahan DM, Scheufele DA, editors. The Oxford Handbook of the Science of Science Communication. New York, NY: Oxford University Press; 2016. pp. 261–72.

8. Burchell K. Factors Affecting Public Engagement by Researchers: Literature Review. Policy Studies Insitute, 2015.

9. Besley JC, Dudo A. Scientists’ Views about Public Engagement and Science Communication in the Context of Climate Change. The Oxford Encyclopedia of Climate Change Communication. 2017.

10. Dudo A, Besley JC. Scientists’ prioritization of communication objectives for public engagement PLoS ONE. 2016;11(2).

11. Besley JC, Dudo A, Storksdieck M. Scientists' views about communication training. Journal of Research in Science Teaching. 2015;52(2):199–220.

12. Besley JC, Dudo A, Yuan S. Scientists’ views about communication objectives. Public Understanding of Science. 2018;27(6):708–30. doi: 10.1177/0963662517728478 28841818

13. Martinez-Conde S. Has contemporary academia outgrown the Carl Sagan Effect? The Journal of Neuroscience. 2016;36(7):2077. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0086-16.2016 26888919

14. Wilcox DL, Cameron GT, Reber BH. Public relations: strategies and tactics. Updated eleventh edition. ed. Boston: Pearson; 2016.

15. Hon LC. Demonstrating effectiveness in public relations: Goals, objectives, and evaluation. Journal of Public Relations Research. 1998;10(2):103–35.

16. Grunig JE, Grunig LA. Excellence Theory in Public Relations: Past, Present, and Future. In: Zerfass A, Ruler B, Sriramesh K, editors. Public Relations Research: VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften; 2008. pp. 327–47.

17. Judkis M. NASA's 'Mohawk Guy': 5 reasons the internet is obsessed with him. The Washington Post. 2012 August 6.

18. Sanghvi M, Hodges N. Marketing the female politician: an exploration of gender and appearance. Journal of Marketing Management. 2015;31(15–16):1676–94.

19. Ruben A. Dress to profess: What should scientists wear. Science [Internet]. 2014. Available from:

20. Losh SC, Wilke R, Pop M. Some methodological issues with "Draw a Scientist Tests" among young children. International Journal of Science Education. 2008;30(6):773–92.

21. Kahan DM, Braman D, Cohen GL, Gastil J, Slovic P. Who fears the HPV vaccine, who doesn't, and why? An experimental study of the mechanisms of cultural cognition. Law and Human Behavior. 2010;34(6):501–16. doi: 10.1007/s10979-009-9201-0 20076997

22. Fiske ST, Dupree C. Gaining trust as well as respect in communicating to motivated audiences about science topics. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 2014;111(Supplement 4):13593–7.

23. Baron N. Escape from the Ivory Tower: A Guide to Making your Science Matter. Washington, DC: Island Press; 2010.

24. Olson R. Houston, We Have a Narrative: Why Science Needs Story. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press; 2015.

25. Dahlstrom MF. Using narratives and storytelling to communicate science with nonexpert audiences. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 2014;111(Supplement 4):13614–20.

26. Alda A. If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look on My Face?: My Adventures in the Art and Science of Relating and Communicating. New York, NY: Random House; 2017.

27. Einsiedel EF. Public participation and dialogue. In: Bucchi M, Trench B, editors. Handbook of Public Communication of Science and Technology. New York, NY: Routledge; 2008. pp. 173–84.

28. Luntz FI. Words that Work: It's Not What You Say, It's What People Hear. 1st pbk. ed. New York, NY: Hyperion; 2007.

29. Luntz FI. The environment: A clean safer, healthier America. 2002 [cited 2013 November 6]; Available from:

30. Lakoff G. Don't think of an Elephant! Know your Values and Frame the Debate: The Essential Guide for Progressives. White River Junction, VT: Chelsea Green; 2004.

31. Mundy DE. The spiral of advocacy: How state-based LGBT advocacy organizations use ground-up public communication strategies in their campaigns for the “Equality Agenda”. Public Relations Review. 2013;39(4):387–90.

32. Fishbein M, Ajzen I. Predicting and Changing Behavior: The Reasoned Action Approach. New York: Psychology Press; 2010.

33. Specter M. Denialism: How Irrational Thinking Hinders Scientific Progress, Harms the Planet, and Threatens our Lives. New York, NY: Penguin Press; 2009.

34. Otto SL. The War on Science: Who's Waging it, Why It Matters, What We Can Do About It. First Edition. ed. Minneapolis, MN: Milkweed Editions; 2016.

35. Mann ME. The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars: Dispatches from the Front Lines. New York, NY: Columbia University Press; 2012.

36. Yuan S, Besley JC, Lou C. Does being a jerk work? Examining the effect of aggressive risk communication in the context of science blogs. Journal of Risk Research. 2018;21(4):502–20.

37. Price V, Neijens P. Opinion quality in public opinion research. International Journal of Public Opinion Research. 1997;9(4):336–60.

38. Petty RE, Cacioppo JT. The elaboration likelihood model of persuasion. New York, NY: Springer-Verlang; 1986.

39. Chaiken S. Heuristic versus systematic information processing and the use of source versus message cues in persuasion. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 1980;39(5):752.

40. Kahneman D. Thinking, Fast and Slow. 1st ed. New York, NY: Farrar, Straus and Giroux; 2011.

41. Rowe G, Frewer LJ. A typology of public engagement mechanisms. Science, Technology, & Human Values. 2005;30(2):251–90. doi: 10.1179/2046905514Y.0000000146

42. Griffin RJ, Dunwoody S, Neuwirth K. Proposed model of the relationship of risk information seeking and processing to the development of preventive behaviors. Environmental Research. 1999;80(2):S230–S45.

43. Montano DE, Kasprzyk D. Theory of reasoned action, theory of planned behavior, and the integrated behavioral model. In: Glanz K, editor. Health behavior: Theory, research and practice. 5th ed. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Blackwell; 2015.

44. van der Linden S, Maibach E, Leiserowitz A. Improving public engagement with climate change: Five “best practice” insights from psychological science. Perspectives on Psychological Science. 2015;10(6):758–63. doi: 10.1177/1745691615598516 26581732

45. Poliakoff E, Webb TL. What factors predict scientists' intentions to participate in public engagement of science activities? Science Communication. 2007;29(2):242–63.

46. Rimal RN, Lapinski MK, Cook RJ, Real K. Moving toward a theory of normative influences: How perceived benefits and similarity moderate the impact of descriptive norms on behaviors. Journal of Health Communication. 2005;10(5):433–50. doi: 10.1080/10810730591009880 16199387

47. Craig SC, Niemi RG, Silver GE. Political efficacy and trust: A report on the NES pilot study items. Political Behavior. 1990;12(3):289–314.

48. Barnett DJ, Thompson CB, Semon NL, Errett NA, Harrison KL, Anderson MK, et al. EPPM and Willingness to Respond: The Role of Risk and Efficacy Communication in Strengthening Public Health Emergency Response Systems. Health Communication. 2014;29(6):598–609. doi: 10.1080/10410236.2013.785474 23799806

49. Axelrod LJ, Lehman DR. Responding to environmental concerns: What factors guide individual action? Journal of Environmental Psychology. 1993;13(2):149–59.

50. Neuwirth K, Dunwoody S, Griffin RJ. Protection motivation and risk communication. Risk Analysis. 2000;20(5):721–34. 11110218

51. Luszczynkska A, Schwarzer R. Social cogntive Theory. In: Conner M, Norman P, editors. Predicting and Changing Health Behavior. New York, NY: Open University Press; 2015. pp. 225–51.

52. Dillman DA, Smyth JD, Christian LM. Internet, Mail, and Mixed-mode Surveys: The Tailored Design Method. 3rd ed. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley & Sons; 2009.

53. Peters HP. Gap between science and media revisited: Scientists as public communicators. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 2013;110(Supplement 3):14102–9.

54. Hayes AF. Introduction to Mediation, Moderation, and Conditional Process Analysis: A Regression-based Approach. New York, NY: The Guilford Press; 2013.

55. Rodgers S, Wang Z, Maras MA, Burgoyne S, Balakrishnan B, Stemmle J, et al. Decoding science: Development and evaluation of a science communication training program using a triangulated framework. Science Communication. 2018;40(1):3–32.

Článek vyšel v časopise


2019 Číslo 10
Nejčtenější tento týden