Science Communication Project
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Assorted Bite-Sized Case Studies
Use these cases to spark short discussions of communication ethics in classes, workshops, presentations, lab meetings and other venues. This collection of "mini cases" expands the set of TRCS full cases to touch on more fields, more communication situations, and […]
This case focuses on the similarities and differences in the communication roles, goals and normative standards of journalists and scientists. Katie Couric, a reputable journalist with a good record on health issues, did a show on the HPV vaccine that […]
The Opinionated Scientist
Political decisions regarding science can have significant impacts on society and scientists often have the expertise to allow them to meaningfully add to the public debate about those decisions. But is it appropriate for scientists to voice their opinions about […]
Should I hold a press conference?
Scientists are being encouraged to share their enthusiasm about science with the general public, engaging them with scientific results relevant to their lives. But when scientists try to do so, they may find that enthusiasm, engagement and relevance look like […]
Ken Ham, head of the Creation Museum, has challenged Bill Nye, the Science Guy, to debate creationism. Should Nye accept? Arguing this case will allow students to explore questions including: How should scientists interact with those who take positions that […]
Monarchs in the Corn
In 1999, scientists working at Cornell University, led by John Losey, completed a preliminary study in which they found that monarch butterfly larvae are harmed when they consume milkweed dusted with transgenic corn pollen. This finding was immediately used by […]
Extreme weather, extreme communication?
Should scientists intervene in contentious issues? And if so, what can they do that will be appropriate and effective in supporting good decision-making on the issue? This case invites students to participate in drafting a public statement that uses the […]
Genetically Modified Headlines
When researchers and public information officers understand how the media select and shape news stories, they can predict what aspects of scientific research will gain media attention and even how the interpretation of that research may shift over time. How […]
Data Mining: Diamonds or Deceit?
There are a number of incentives and societal pressures to communicate study results with statistically significant treatment differences. However, overstatement of scientific findings, even in the absence of factual errors or data falsification, can have negative effects for both the […]