The Communication Relationship Between the Scientific Community at the Industrial Ecology Program and Society
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This thesis maps the communication of environmental science at the program of Industrial Ecology at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology and in the Norwegian society, with the intention to come up with suggestions for an improved dissemination practice. To understand how science dissemination affects social perception of environmental issues, I investigated used channels for communication and experienced barriers with information. This was explored through descriptive statistics from two surveys created in relation to my project thesis in the fall of 2015. In addition, a hierarchical multiple regression was used to test the ability channels and experienced barriers had in predicting environmental literacy. My results indicate that the channels through which environmental science is disseminated do not conform to the channels used by society for information acquisition. While scientists mainly conduct research oriented dissemination through channels such as journal articles and conferences, society uses traditional media to consume environmental information. This communication gap affects the development of environmental literacy in the public. Although society s most used channels did not yield significant results on environmental literacy, popular science media did. In addition, experienced issues with opinionated science turned out to significantly affect environmental literacy. I suggest that the program of Industrial Ecology should take more use of traditional media (regular and online) and further explore the internet in their dissemination work. In addition, the scientists should undergo formal education to make sure they possess the right skillset for communication with a lay audience, as well as making their research easier and more entertaining to consume. I further suggest that the university implements better recognition for science dissemination, and facilitates this practice.