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Research Articles

Vol 19 No 1 (2015)

Assessing the Impact of Education and Outreach Activities on Research Scientists

Submitted
March 20, 2015
Published
March 20, 2015

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to investigate the attitudes of university-level research scientists toward educational and outreach activities that aim to help the general public understand more about their scientific endeavors. Interviews, observations, and survey results from 12 university research scientists, their colleagues, students, and the individuals they interact with were used to gather data for this study. Results indicate that although some research scientists value their education and outreach activities, many encounter obstacles to such efforts. These obstacles include a lack of support or resources at their home institution, the effort required to balance their research careers and outreach activities, and needing to find ways to connect with a nonscientific audience. A generational gap was also observed, with younger, nontenured research scientists tending to be more eager to involve themselves in such activities than their older, tenured colleagues.