AAAS DoSER’s Engaging Scientists In the Science and Religion Dialogue (“Engaging Scientists”) project supports scientists in becoming more effective ambassadors for themselves, their disciplines, and for science as a whole with diverse publics, and particularly with religious communities.
Regardless of whether they spend their days in the classroom or at a lab bench, scientists interact with the public in some capacity. According to a 2015 Pew Research Center survey, most Americans identify as religious or spiritual. Therefore religion, as a central element of culture and identity, informs many peoples’ views on science and technology topics. The Engaging Scientists project draws on evidence-based practices and the science of science communication to help scientists develop strategies and skillsets for culturally and religiously inclusive public science engagement.
This project, led by Rob O’Malley and Rachel Kline, offers numerous publicly-available resources and holds workshops and other events at scientific society meetings and universities to help scientists engage with religious publics.
1. Video Series: Science Engagement with Faith Communities
DoSER created a series of 4 short videos that cover key points to consider when doing science engagement with faith communities. In part 1, we discuss inclusive public engagement with science, why scientists should engage, and note that the majority of U.S. adults are religious. In part 2, we discuss the social and historical context of public engagement with science, including perceptions of science and scientists, the harm science has caused to certain communities, and how multiple factors influence views on science topics. Part 3 (on best practices for public engagement with science) and part 4 (highlighting ways to meet people where they are, with examples from practicing scientists) will be released by December 2021.
2. Profiles in Science Engagement with Faith Communities
DoSER spoke with a diverse range of practicing scientists and science communicators about engagement activities with religious communities. These scholars span a range of backgrounds, career stages, research fields, and interests, but their engagement activities share some common themes – in particular being strategic, being respectful, and being human. Click here to read the profiles!
3. Scientists in Civic Life: Facilitating Dialogue-Based Communication
This booklet, made in collaboration with the AAAS Center for Public Engagement with Science and Technology, provides an overview of the science communication research, public perceptions of science, and strategies for encouraging fruitful dialogue about science and society. Download the booklet here.
4. Workshops and Events
The Engaging Scientists team, in collaboration with representatives from the AAAS Center for Public Engagement with Science and Technology, regularly hosts workshops and other events at scientific society meetings and university campuses. These events help scientists develop toolkits for respectful, culturally sensitive, and fruitful dialogue about science with diverse and largely religious publics. Watch the recordings here.