Hetland, P. // Constructing publics in museums’ science communication
Journal article. Public Understandings of Science. 2019
This article investigates how scientists at natural history museums construct publics in science communication and identifies four major constructions based on Braun and Schultz’s categories: the general public, the pure public, the affected public, and the partisan public. This study draws on data from 17 research scientists at two natural history research museums in Norway who were interviewed about their public outreach activities focusing on practices, settings, designated outcomes, scientists’ incentives to communicate science, and, finally, the speaking positions available for the different publics; the aim was to provide an understanding of the four constructed publics in museums’ science communication. When scientists construct different publics, they emphasize relevance as an important quality assurance device.