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Microbiologists’ Public Engagement Views and Behaviors

    Authors: Anthony Dudo1, John Besley2, Lee Ann Kahlor1, Hyeseung Koh1, Jacob Copple1, Shupei Yuan3
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    Affiliations: 1: Stan Richards School of Advertising and Public Relations, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX 78712; 2: Advertising and Public Relations, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824; 3: Department of Communication, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, IL 60115
    AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION
    Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. March 2018 vol. 19 no. 1 doi:10.1128/jmbe.v19i1.1402
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    Abstract:

    In this study, we present results from an extensive survey of US-based microbiologists (adults) to explore these scientists’ perceptions and behaviors related to communicating their research. Specifically, we explored the frequency with which microbiologists engage in public communication, how they evaluate their public communication experiences, and the factors associated with their willingness to engage in face-to-face and online public communication in the future. Data from a multi-wave online survey suggest that microbiologists (N = 903) are somewhat frequent communicators who derive great value from their outreach efforts. The results further suggest that social and psychological drivers of future intentions to engage with the public are consistent with the Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB). Specifically, microbiologists with more positive attitudes toward engagement were more willing to partake in direct and online communication activities. Similarly, microbiologists who believe they possess communication skills are more willing than their less efficacious colleagues to do either type of outreach. Our results also indicate that more-senior and more-active researchers are more willing to participate in direct and online engagement. Implications for communication training are discussed.

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2018-03-30
2019-02-21

Abstract:

In this study, we present results from an extensive survey of US-based microbiologists (adults) to explore these scientists’ perceptions and behaviors related to communicating their research. Specifically, we explored the frequency with which microbiologists engage in public communication, how they evaluate their public communication experiences, and the factors associated with their willingness to engage in face-to-face and online public communication in the future. Data from a multi-wave online survey suggest that microbiologists (N = 903) are somewhat frequent communicators who derive great value from their outreach efforts. The results further suggest that social and psychological drivers of future intentions to engage with the public are consistent with the Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB). Specifically, microbiologists with more positive attitudes toward engagement were more willing to partake in direct and online communication activities. Similarly, microbiologists who believe they possess communication skills are more willing than their less efficacious colleagues to do either type of outreach. Our results also indicate that more-senior and more-active researchers are more willing to participate in direct and online engagement. Implications for communication training are discussed.

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Figures

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FIGURE 1

Microbiologists’ frequency of engagement with the public between October 2014 and October 2015 (the last year prior to survey completion) via online platforms, face-to-face interaction, interactions with media professionals, and direct interactions with government/policymakers (n = 903).

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. March 2018 vol. 19 no. 1 doi:10.1128/jmbe.v19i1.1402
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FIGURE 2

Microbiologists’ evaluations of their overall public engagement experiences (n = 700).

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. March 2018 vol. 19 no. 1 doi:10.1128/jmbe.v19i1.1402
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