Public Engagement in Action

The interactions, participants, and exchanges that comprise public engagement manifest themselves in a number of different ways.

What Activities Count as Engagement?

  • It's an Open-Ended Response: There is no right response to the question of what activities fully define public engagement. The key in engagement is the presence of a dialogue between scientists and the general public, something that can take place in countless ways, locations, and formats. With that in mind, public engagement can allow for creative, inventive means of conversing and mutual learning.
  • A Few Ideas: To get you started, here a few ideas of what engagement might look like: radio interviews with call-in questions, demonstrations with audience participation, science cafes, university campus events, online chats, community meetings, and the list goes on.
  • Online Engagement Counts, Too! As you'll notice from this list, engagement efforts do not need to be face-to-face. Public engagement in action might include the use of online, video, and audio technologies that allow you to connect from a distance.

Who is Involved?

  • There are Many "Publics": It's important to remember that there are many members of and sub-groups within "the public". For example, gardeners, middle school students, and the elderly are all "the public". The individuals with whom you are interacting should change how you prepare for the given interaction. When preparing for a public engagement activity, remember to define your audience and develop your message accordingly.
  • Engagement Spans All Fields: There is no expertise too obscure for public engagement because all research impacts the public.