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Types of Scientific Communication

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The main goal of scientific communication is to convey clear information to an audience, so its members can understand, use and build on it. Although that much is clear, and depending on whom you ask, few seem to agree on what defines the different types of scientific communication. That is mainly because scientific communication is a type of communication in itself. However, it is possible to take a look at how types of scientific communication can differ, depending on the channel used and the specific purpose of the communication material.

Popular Scientific Communication

Popular scientific communication generally refers to public media discussion about science topics to a non-scientist, general audience. This audience can be composed of children, teenagers and adults. Often, scientists are involved, in order to ensure the correctness of the information transmitted; but the communication is done in terms that the general public can understand. Scientific communication can be done through events, television programs, journal and magazine articles, as well as science-related programs and policies.

Scholarly Scientific Communication

Scholarly communication is the most formal type of scientific communication. It normally leads to a formal publication of the results, findings, observations and views arising from a scientist’s research project. Most often, the official results are published in the form of printed materials, such as academic journals. Verbal communication channels, such as personal contacts with colleagues and teachers, seminars, workshops, lectures, and conferences, are also vital to the exchange of information among scientists. These types of communications work toward the advancement of the various scientific disciplines.

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Agricultural Scientific Communication

Agricultural communication is the only officially defined subset of science communication in the fields of natural science, from both the academic and professional points of view. It consists of communication about agricultural and farming issues. The main channels used are agricultural magazines and publications, as well as farm radio and television stations. Agricultural commodity groups and related government agencies are highly involved in agricultural communication. Graduates from agricultural communication programs often become employees of community media, where their agricultural background helps them organize and disseminate scientific and technical farming information to both farm and non-farm audiences.

Academic Discipline

Science communication is also an academic discipline, on its own, because of a large demand for participatory models of communication. Students and researchers in this field are often closely linked to the natural sciences, but can also come from other departments -- including media studies, psychology, sociology or literature. For example, media studies students are looking into the impact of social media and the internet on the general public's understanding of science communication. More information about research and advancements in science communication can be found in two key academic journals, Public Understanding of Science and Science Communication.

About the Author

Marie-Pier Rochon has been writing since 2005. She has served as a writer at PlaceForPoeple and a newsletter writer for the Creative Sydney festival. Previously, Rochon also worked as a communications adviser for various Canadian federal agencies. She earned a Bachelor of Arts with honors in organizational communications from the University of Ottawa.

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