Scientists as public communicators: individual- and institutional-level motivations and barriers for public communication in Singapore

Shirley S. Ho*, Jiemin Looi, Tong Jee Goh

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This study identifies the outreach activities that scientists engage in, as well as their perceived motivations and barriers towards such activities. It examines the forms of communication training that Singapore-based scientists have undergone and the types of communication training they would like to receive. Five focus groups were conducted with scientists across scientific disciplines from public universities and research institutes who engaged in direct and mediated outreach activities. Overall, the lack of time and institutional constraints were the main barriers to outreach activities. Their desire to impact public welfare and secure research funds were primary motivators to conduct outreach activities. The participants also expressed interest in communication training in terms of speech and drama classes, writing newspaper articles, and publicizing their research on blogs and social media. The participants also wished to understand how Singapore’s media functions and learn how to liaise with media practitioners. Participants provided different responses based on their seniority, institutional affiliations, and prior experience in outreach activities. Theoretical and practical implications, as well as directions for future research are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)155-178
Number of pages24
JournalAsian Journal of Communication
Volume30
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 3 Mar 2020

User-Defined Keywords

  • Outreach activities
  • science and technology
  • motivations
  • barriers
  • training

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