Comparing Engagement Formats to Motivate Local Community Public Climate Change Action

Document Type

Conference Paper

Journal/Book Title/Conference

Annual International Conference for the National Association for Research in Science Teaching


San Antonio, TX

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To encourage science-based decision making and motivate public action on climate change, meaningful science engagement beyond traditional one-way outreach is crucial. Yet current engagement efforts such as science cafés still fall short in moving beyond deficit-style information transmission. These events also have time and geographic limitations. We are building on the science café model and establishing the idea of live events that allow for audience participation in drafting discussion questions that shape the ultimate event topics and speakers as well as content for related exhibits. Based on results from intercept interviews and surveys, we are creating a museum exhibit on climate change’s effects on allergies and water quality in the local area, as well as two live panel discussion that will be webcast and broadcast later for comparison. Our audience indicated a lack of knowledge of community-level actions they can take on these issues as well. We assess success by comparing audience surveys about behavior change intent and questions posed during the events to similar data from the exhibit. Ultimately, our research adds to the literature on public engagement through science-café-style events, comparing the in-person format with online and broadcast versions as well as a more traditional museum exhibit.

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