Skip to main content

Public Engagement Research

Four glossy publications from the Center for Public Engagement, three in English and one in Spanish, are arranged on a table.
AAAS collaborates with researchers to conduct science communication research. | AAAS

AAAS often collaborates with researchers from a number of fields to conduct and disseminate research about science communication and public engagement. See research about Communication Best Practices, Evaluating Public Engagement, and Science in Policymaking below.

Communication Best Practices

Evaluating Public Engagement

AAAS Civic Science Fellowship Project

The AAAS Civic Science Fellowship Project consisted of a landscape review of relationship-building approaches on climate resilience issues and three in-depth case studies of flood resilience/recovery networks in the rural Midwest. As scoping resources, this research informed a formative framework to evaluate future civic science efforts and the design of an initial set of civic science experiments to work toward a consistent vision for culture change at scale. Investigators: Blake McGhghy, Emily Therese Cloyd, Tiffany Lohwater, and Stacey Baker.

  • Landscape Report of Relationship-Building for Climate Resilience Collaborations: This report provides snapshots of existing approaches for relationship building, identities thematic challenges for local engagement on climate from the existing literature, and identifies typographies or “streams” of public engagement on climate to provide recommendations to three stakeholder groups: subject-matter experts, funding and institutional partners, and evaluators and researchers of public engagement with science.
  • Case Studies of Flood Resilience and Recovery Networks in the Rural Midwest: The case studies analyze relationship-building approaches among community members, community organizations, subject-matter experts, university groups, civic groups, and other collaborators in the context of three flood resilience and recovery networks in small towns in Missouri and Iowa. The cases explore similar engagement activities under the auspices of three different organizations: a university affiliated program, a grassroots community organization, and a civic nonprofit. In addition, the cases provide insights for –public engagement with rural communities on climate resilience and related issues. 

Other Projects

Science in Policymaking

Two sets of hands touch a glossy, multi-page report, open to a page with a photo of the U.S. Capitol. One hand, from a dark-skinned person, points to the image of the Capitol building.
Two people discuss the Recommended Practices for Science Communication with Policymakers guide. | AAAS

Communicating science to Congress

This project examined the factors that affect how scientific information is used in the personal offices of members of Congress. A workshop in Fall 2017 initiated the project and in 2017-2018 the team interviewed and surveyed legislative staff from the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate to map opportunities and barriers in applying scientific information within legislative contexts; the interplay of new knowledge with behavior, past experience, and culture; and the nature of the interaction between scientists and policymakers. Project investigators: Karen Akerlof, George Mason University, Maria Carmen Lemos; University of Michigan School for Environment and Sustainability; Emily Therese Cloyd, AAAS Center for Public Engagement with Science and Technology; and Erin Heath, AAAS Office of Government Relations.

Evidence-based science communications with policymakers

This project examined the communication and use of science within the policymaking arena. The research team integrated existing scholarly literature with new empirical findings from a survey of science communicators, case studies of science-relevant legislating, and qualitative interviews with policymakers. The resulting set of best practices for presenting science to policymakers is available on the American University website. Project investigators include:Elizabeth Suhay, American University; Emily Therese Cloyd, AAAS Center for Public Engagement with Science and Technology; Erin Heath, AAAS Office of Government Relations; and Erin Nash, University of New South Wales