Evaluation of science communication activities, a gap to be filled

If the number of science communication activities increases in Latin America, the evaluation of these initiatives doesn’t come with this growth. Since evaluating is a crucial stage in developing and improving science communication projects, there is a clear gap to be filled. That`s what a new workgroup presented today at the XI RedPOP meeting intends to do.

The Network for Measuring the Impact of Popularization of Science and Technology in Ibero-America (REMIPCYT), created in 2008, aims to put six Latin American countries (Argentina, Brazil, Nicaragua, Mexico, Uruguay and Costa Rica) together to develop evaluation strategies that can measure the impact of science communication activities in society.

“REMIPCYT has two important aspects. The first one is that this investigation effort will help us to validate our science communication practices. And the second one is that working in networks like REMIPCYT and constructing collective knowledge strengthen our capacity to do research on this field”, told to SciDev.Net Graciela Merino, coordinator of REMIPCYT, from the National University of La Plata, Argentina.

REMIPCYT is connected to RedPOP and funded by the Latin American Science & Technology Development Programme (CYTED). The activities started in 2008 and will go on until 2011. Around 30 researchers are involved in REMIPCYT.

“In the future, we hope that this work will help us to convince politicians and science & technology institutions that science communication plays a crucial role in sustainable development”, added Merino.

Besides REMIPCYT, there are some other initiatives focusing on evaluation of science communication activities. In Brazil, for example, the Museum of Life – connected to the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation – has been developing a multimedia tool to assess visitors and explainers opinions about its exhibits.

“This evaluation can be an important management tool”, said Sonia Mano, responsible for evaluation and studies of public at the Museum of Life. Results of public surveys can help the Museum to improve its exhibits and programs.

Catarina Chagas, SciDev.Net

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