Interpreting contested science: media influence and scientific citizenship

Holliman, Richard and Scanlon, Eileen (2009). Interpreting contested science: media influence and scientific citizenship. In: Holliman, Richard; Whitelegg, Elizabeth; Scanlon, Eileen; Smidt, Sam and Thomas, Jeff eds. Investigating Science Communication in the Information Age: Implications for public engagement and popular media. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, pp. 254–273.

URL: http://www.oup.com/uk/catalogue/?ci=9780199552665

Abstract

In this chapter the authors document the findings from a study of newspaper reception of ‘contested science’, where participants were encouraged to discuss how they actively interpreted and contextualised (or avoided) this reporting. Drawing on two examples—finger length and sexuality, and genetics and intelligence—the chapter compares the main findings from a study of newspaper content with that of a reception study involving 14 focus group interviews. The authors argue that controversial topics in science provide scientific citizens with interesting opportunities for discussion and action that can have consequences for their engagement with science.

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