14 May 2021

Dr Marina Joubert, science communication researcher at CREST, collaborated with the creative team at Lifeology to create a flashcard course about ‘the science of science communication’. She reflects on the process of creating this novel course in this blog, along with reflections from Lifeology co-founder Paige Jarreau and the artist who illustrated the course Jeff Pea.

Lifeology courses are presented as free illustrated flashcard lessons. Explore other topics in the online library.

The course written by Dr Joubert is situated in South Africa. It starts off with an engineer who is deeply concerned about the torching of 5G towers in KwaZulu-Natal – a situation that unfolded in South African in January 2021. He calls in the communication officer at his company. Together they debate the best way forward. The rationale for a novel approach to science communication, including advice from a social scientist, unfolds over the set of flashcards that make up this course. It includes further resources and reading materials on this topic.

About the science of science communication

The ‘science of science communication’ refers to a new field of scholarship that focuses on current insights from psychology, sociology and behaviour science to help us understand how people respond to new information and form opinions about science.

The essence of ‘the science of science communication’ is that the communication of science should be based on evidence of what works. In other words, we can no longer afford to rely on our gut when we communicate science. We have to base our activities on proven strategies. Overall, this new field emphasises that facts are often not enough to convince or persuade people who are hesitant or concerned about emerging technologies. What is needed, in most cases, is respectful and meaningful dialogue that focuses on the needs and concerns of the affected publics.