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Journal: Problems of Education in the 21st Century (Vol.76, No. 1)

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Authors : ; ; ; ;

Page : 43-57

Keywords : authenticity; nanoscience; nature of science; science communication; scientist interviews;

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Some level of understanding of and about nanoscience and nanotechnology (NST) has been suggested as being relevant in up-to-date scientific literacy for all. Research scientists working in these fields are central in current efforts to inform and engage the public in NST. Earlier research has shown that scientists can contribute to authentic science learning, but communication always entails roles that affect the choice of content. This study investigated NST researchers' views on the nature of their research and their preferences in NST communication. Eight experienced professors working in various fields of NST were interviewed. Semi-structured, in-depth interviews focused on the scientists' views on 1) the nature of their research, and 2) aspects of NST that should be communicated to the public. Qualitative content analysis of the interviews revealed that the themes the interviewees highlighted when describing their research (interdisciplinarity, size scale, methods, objects, nature of NST in general) were somewhat different from the ones they considered as important for communication to the public (applications and products, risks and benefits, visualizations). The results problematize the simplistic notion that exposure to real scientists would unquestionably enhance the authenticity of science learning. This study gives insight for research and development of science communication, especially scientists' role and training in it.

Last modified: 2018-06-29 23:35:12