Comparing the Effectiveness of Two Communication Formats on Visitors’ Understanding of Nanotechnology
DOI: 10.1080/10645578.2014.945345
Title: Comparing the Effectiveness of Two Communication Formats on Visitors’ Understanding of Nanotechnology
Journal Title: Visitor Studies
Volume: Volume 17
Issue: Issue 2
Publication Date: July 2014
Start Page: 159
End Page: 176
Published online: 25 Sep 2014
ISSN: 1064-5578
Affiliations:
a Technical University Munich, Munich, Germany
Abstract: The authors investigated the results of the Europe-wide initiative NanoToTouch, which aims to create innovative environments in science museums to encourage public understanding of nanotechnology and nanotechnological research. The concepts of civic scientific literacy and expert–layperson Communication formed the theoretical framework of the study. Two kinds of Communication formats, which varied in the degree to which presentations were individualized for visitors, were established and investigated in five museums and science centers in four countries. The findings from 522 visitors indicate (a) a positive response from visitors regarding both formats with some differences between them; (b) an increase in visitors’ self-perceived level of knowledge, which was considerably higher for nanotechnological content than for nanotechnological research; and (c) a predominance of situational aspects, compared to personal variables, influencing visitors’ learning. Results are discussed in terms of an effective implementation of these Communication formats in museums.

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