[Blueboard] Manila Observatory Brown Bag Seminar Series

andy at observatory.ph andy at observatory.ph
Tue Jan 24 16:14:08 PHT 2012

To the Ateneo de Manila community:

In connection with the Manila Observatory's brown bag seminar series,  
please be informed that Ms. Inez Ponce de Leon will deliver her  
lecture as part of this series on Friday, 27 January 2012 at the MO  
Basement Conference Room from 11:30am to 12:30pm.

Please see below the title and abstract of her talk.  Hope you can attend.


"Science Communication Beliefs of Researchers Based in the Philippines  
and the United States: A Qualitative Analysis of Research Cultures and  


How do researchers' background cultures and worldviews influence their  
beliefs about science communication? Do bench scientists from two  
different cultures also have two different ways of doing and  
perceiving science?

To answer this question, Inez Ponce de Leon interviewed 40 bench  
scientists: 20 from various research institutions in the Philippines,  
and 20 from Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. She talked  
to them about their culture as scientists, the culture with which they  
were surrounded, their views on science, and their opinions about  
science communication. She analyzed these interviews in depth using a  
combination of theoretical and conceptual frameworks that examined  
culture, boundary setting, the definitions of various types of science  
communication, and the bench scientists? worldview.

Her analysis revealed that bench scientists from these cultural  
milieus differed in their worldviews and how they perceived their jobs  
as scientists. Filipino bench scientists tended to want the public to  
believe in the stability of scientific facts, but admitted that  
scientific findings could change. U.S.-based researchers, on the other  
hand, tended to acknowledge their limitations as researchers, and  
admitted that knowledge changed.

All researchers believed in the dissemination model of science  
communication, where scientific knowledge is held in high regard, and  
where the lay public's duty is to listen to scientists. However,  
Filipino scientists wanted to communicate scientific facts, while  
U.S.-based researchers wanted to communicate the nature of scientific  
research, as well.

The researchers also provided opinions on their surrounding culture:  
Filipino researchers tended to believe that habits unique to the  
Filipino culture, such as lack of assertiveness, were impeding science  
progress and exacerbating the poor funding situation. U.S.-based  
scientists believed that American culture encouraged creativity and  
critical thinking and allowed them to deal with funding pressures.

Findings from this research can be used to help advance theoretical  
modeling in the context of science communication. Findings can also  
help improve science communication by understanding how scientists  
define themselves as key players in the communication process, which,  
in turn, can help in training these scientists to communicate directly  
with lay audiences.


Inez Ponce de Leon is the Science and Risk Communication Specialist at  
the Manila Observatory. She has undergraduate and masters degrees in  
Molecular Biology and Biotechnology from the University of the  
Philippines, Diliman; and a PhD in Science Communication from Purdue  
University. Her research interests include the nature of science and  
scientific research; the sociology of the scientific discipline;  
science and society; genetic engineering; and biotechnology.

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