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Communicating Social-Ecological Systems Science. Garrett J. O’Keefe, Ph.D. Colorado State University Fort Collins CO Living on Earth ‘11. Reconciling Science from Multiple Perspectives. Multiple sciences vs. multiple publics

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communicating social ecological systems science

Communicating Social-Ecological Systems Science

Garrett J. O’Keefe, Ph.D.

Colorado State University

Fort Collins CO

Living on Earth ‘11

reconciling science from multiple perspectives
Reconciling Science from Multiple Perspectives
  • Multiple sciences vs. multiple publics
  • Journalists, policymakers, legislators, activists, civic-mindeds, end-users, the uninvolved
  • What are each of these publics’ NEEDS?
  • What do we WANT for/from each public?
  • How can we reconcile such demands?

Living on Earth '11

communicating for your audience s
Communicating for Your AudienceS
  • Multidisciplinary science needs common themes, messages, often outcome-based
  • Focus on the problems being approached
  • Segment to targeted publics, e.g. policymakers, funders, legislators, advocates, media, citizen segments
  • Seek and find RELEVANCE to each
  • One size will not fit all!

Living on Earth '11

case in point journalists threat or menace
Case in Point: Journalists (Threat or Menace?)
  • Js want more closure, that new “fact” that will interest audiences and be of relevance
  • Ss want to explore where findings take them, which models are supported or not
  • Fundamental: J and public not seeing science as a constantly uncertain work in progress, a process, conflicting, with any consensus likely probability-based

Living on Earth '11

seeking common ground with journalists
Seeking Common Ground with Journalists
  • Both Ss and Js are looking for something new. Both are curious, enjoy learning
  • Both often delight in explaining what they find to other people, and earn a living at it
  • Good Ss and Js highly value accuracy and rigor in what they do
  • Good Js also enjoy learning the “why”, which for Ss is always the main goal

Living on Earth '11

communicating your science can help you and your work
Communicating Your ScienceCan Help You and Your Work
  • Publics beyond your peers can be critical to you
  • You can convey broader implications, apps
  • Awareness can increase citations, impact value
  • You may attract important outside collaborators
  • You can increase your area’s salience
  • And, in turn, grant funding, peer review agenda
  • You remain competitive in the multimedia world
  • Identify publics’ characteristics in order to segment/target programs to meet those needs

Living on Earth '11

the better you can explain your own science
The Better YOU Can Explain Your Own Science:
  • The more ACCURATELY word gets out
  • The more you attract communicator help
  • The stronger the impression on your peers, students, admin and donors
  • The more personal (compelling) your story
  • The more you respond to public needs, esp. understanding and accountability

Living on Earth '11

translating from the journals to other audiences
Translating from the Journals to Other Audiences
  • Invert the “IMRAD” journal format!
  • Focus turns to IMPLICATIONS

2. Try to find what’s most interesting to THIS audience.

  • Try to relate what’s compelling about your research to THEIR interests.
  • What do you want them to learn, to take from this, based on what they already know.

Living on Earth '11

use your communication support networks
Use Your Communication Support Networks
  • Your campus, agency PIOs, admin
  • Resources in your professional orgs
  • Colleagues who do it well, funders, etc.
  • Funded positions on grants for writers, etc.
  • NSF, AAAS resource sites, workshops
  • Other reference materials (Nelson et al., Meredith, Wong)

Living on Earth '11