All the ways in which you can communicate about science.
Science communication (scicom) is not only about informing and teaching a specific target audience, it is also about the dialogue between science and society. Science communication comes in many forms and sizes, for example a lecture, debate or citizen science.
The product and reach of a scicom project.
Output answers the question: what did you make and how many people did you reach? Examples of products are a book, a podcast and an event. The reach of a product can for instance be determined by looking at the number of sales, streams and visitors.
The effect of a scicom project on its audience.
Outcome answers the question: did something change in the audience after they engaged with your project? The changes you are looking for are changes in the knowledge, attitude and/or behaviour of the audience. An example of an outcome is a better understanding of the scientific process after listening to a science podcast.
The long-term effects of science communication on society.
Impact answers the question: did something change in society? Changes in society usually only become visible over time. While outcome focuses on the effects within the target audience, impact is about the effects on the entire society. An example of impact is more diversity and inclusion in science.
A way to evaluate science communication.
Measuring impact gives you an answer to the question: who have I reached with my scicom project and what has changed in my target group as a result? Measuring impact is thus not about impact in its original sense (see “impact” above), but about the short-term impact of one scicom project. In order to assess impact, we measure the outputs and outcomes of a project.
A set of questions to measure the impact of science communication.
Our question bank consists of four sections: demographics, science capital, emotional memory and an effect analysis.
Basic information about your target audience.
Demographics can for instance be about age, residence and schooling. Collecting this kind of information provides you insight into the kind of audience that you reached.
The extent to which science has meaning to someone.
Science capital is about the knowledge, attitude, experiences and abilities that someone has when it comes to science. Science capital has an effect on how familiar science feels to someone and the extent to which they perceive science as a part of their lives.
The extent to which an activity is being experienced as enjoyable and intense.
Emotions have a powerful effect on memory: the more enjoyable and intense our emotions are, the better an experience will be stored in our long-term memory. As such, measuring emotional memory provides insight into the possible long-term effects of a scicom project.
A set of questions to assess the knowledge, attitude and behaviour of people.
These questions allow you to measure to which extent your scicom activity has contributed to the personal development of your audience. These possible effects are split up between knowledge (did the audience learn something?), attitude (does the audience think differently?) and behaviour (does the audience behave differently or do they have the intention to do so?