Manila Observatory’s Brownbag Lecture on 27 Jan 2012: Science communication beliefs of researchers based in the Philippines and the United States by Dr. Inez Ponce de Leon

The Manila Observatory

The Manila Observatory (Photo by Quirino Sugon Jr.)

From the Manila Observatory:

In connection with the Manila Observatory’s brown bag seminar series, please be informed that Dr Inez Ponce de Leon will deliver her  lecture as part of this series on Friday, 27 January 2012 at the Manila Observatory Basement Conference Room from 11:30am to 12:30pm.

Science Communication Beliefs of Researchers Based in the Philippines and the United States: A Qualitative Analysis of Research Cultures and  Worldviews

Abstract

How do researchers’ background cultures and worldviews influence their  beliefs about science communication? Do bench scientists from two  different cultures also have two different ways of doing and  perceiving science?

To answer this question, Inez Ponce de Leon interviewed 40 bench  scientists: 20 from various research institutions in the Philippines,  and 20 from Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. She talked  to them about their culture as scientists, the culture with which they  were surrounded, their views on science, and their opinions about  science communication. She analyzed these interviews in depth using a
combination of theoretical and conceptual frameworks that examined  culture, boundary setting, the definitions of various types of science  communication, and the bench scientists? worldview.

Her analysis revealed that bench scientists from these cultural  milieus differed in their worldviews and how they perceived their jobs  as scientists. Filipino bench scientists tended to want the public to  believe in the stability of scientific facts, but admitted that  scientific findings could change. U.S.-based researchers, on the other  hand, tended to acknowledge their limitations as researchers, and  admitted that knowledge changed.

All researchers believed in the dissemination model of science  communication, where scientific knowledge is held in high regard, and  where the lay public’s duty is to listen to scientists. However,  Filipino scientists wanted to communicate scientific facts, while  U.S.-based researchers wanted to communicate the nature of scientific
research, as well.

The researchers also provided opinions on their surrounding culture:  Filipino researchers tended to believe that habits unique to the  Filipino culture, such as lack of assertiveness, were impeding science  progress and exacerbating the poor funding situation. U.S.-based  scientists believed that American culture encouraged creativity and  critical thinking and allowed them to deal with funding pressures.

Findings from this research can be used to help advance theoretical  modeling in the context of science communication. Findings can also  help improve science communication by understanding how scientists
define themselves as key players in the communication process, which,  in turn, can help in training these scientists to communicate directly  with lay audiences.

About the Speaker:

Inez Ponce de Leon is the Science and Risk Communication Specialist at  the Manila Observatory. She has undergraduate and masters degrees in  Molecular Biology and Biotechnology from the University of the
Philippines, Diliman; and a PhD in Science Communication from Purdue  University. Her research interests include the nature of science and  scientific research; the sociology of the scientific discipline;  science and society; genetic engineering; and biotechnology.

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Physics News and Features from Ateneo de Manila University

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