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What do laypersons want to know from scientists? An analysis of a dialogue between scientists and laypersons on the web site Scienzaonline

[journal article]

Falchetti, Elisabetta; Caravita, Silvia; Sperduti, Alessandra

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Please use the following Persistent Identifier (PID) to cite this document:http://nbn-resolving.de/urn:nbn:de:0168-ssoar-223911

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Abstract Scienzaonline is an interactive web site developed by the Museum of Zoology of Rome that offers various services. After the site had been online for three years, we examined approximately 800 questions received by the service Expert on line to understand what laypeople's interests in science are and in which life contexts they emerge. The contents of the questions were categorized to reveal the function and the nature of the knowledge that people expect from “experts”. Some kind of actual accomplishment motivates most of the questions, though a considerable number of them have knowledge and understanding as their objective. Information is the main form of expected knowledge and disciplinary knowledge is viewed as the privileged source of it. A relevant percentage of messages reveal the desire to obtain explanations and validations of reported facts, an aid to go beyond factual knowledge. Striving to find answers to “great unanswered questions” emerges as a passionate intellectual endeavor for some people.
Document language English
Publication Year 2007
Page/Pages p. 489-506
Journal Public Understanding of Science, 16 (2007) 4
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0963662505063797
Status Postprint; peer reviewed
Licence PEER Licence Agreement (applicable only to documents from PEER project)