Scientists' choice of visual displays in climate change outreach: an exploratory study
Ward, R. V., Jones, M. G., Nieuwsma, J., Bordewieck, K., & Ideus, K. L. (2023, September 23). INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF SCIENCE EDUCATION PART B-COMMUNICATION AND PUBLIC ENGAGEMENT.
ABSTRACTVisual displays are important components of scientists’ public outreach about climate change, yet little is known about how and why scientists choose visual displays. This descriptive, exploratory study sought insight to understand the factors that drive scientists’ decisions about their choice of visual displays for public outreach and education. Interviews were conducted with eleven scientists who have given talks on climate change. During the interviews, the scientists were prompted, from a predefined list of 25 visual displays, to choose the five they would be most likely to use in a climate change talk and to explain their choices. Findings revealed that while scientists’ visual display choices differed, they had similar reasons that converged on bringing climate change psychologically closer to their audiences. Over half of the visual displays selected depicted geographically proximal information, and over half of participants selected a visual display because it communicated climate change certainty. Participants’ descriptions of how they would use selected visual displays included references to direct impacts their audiences already had or would experience. This study provides insights into the current context of climate change outreach among practicing scientists and their perceptions about the role that visual displays play in this public educational process.KEYWORDS: Climate changevisualspublic outreach AcknowledgmentsWe would like to acknowledge the participants of this study and the creators of the visual displays used in this study, without whom this research would not be possible.Disclosure statementNo potential conflict of interest was reported by the author(s).Ethics statementThis study was approved by North Carolina State University’s Institutional Review Board (eIRB #24693).