Ursula Plesner

Ursula Plesner

  • Roskilde University
Participant in 2006

Phd Projects


Beyond transmission perspectives on research communication – Analyzing the 'Food Chain' From Researcher to Media User

The present project focuses on the problem of communicating research; in a knowledge society, developments within both communication theory and the political domain have lead to a demand for both more, better, and dialogical research communication. Research must be communicated to a broader audience, both for legitimating purposes and in the name of democratization. The project will set out to investigate the working hypothesis, that most initiatives launched to improve the quality of research communication still focus on one-way communication via the mass media (e.g. press releases); are not based on new (post-foundationalist) theoretical insights regarding dialogical communication; and do not cater to the different needs of different target groups. Research knowledge can be communicated in various alternative ways (e.g. science cafés, interactive research, etc.), but my project asks if it makes sense to look at communication via the mass media as a series of interactions between different forms of culturally and socially specific knowledge (inspired by Bruno Latour), and thus as an inherently dialogical practice... To investigate this question, the project follows con- crete knowledge claims of the research network ‘Civil Society and New Forms of Government in Europe’ as they travel through the ‘food chain’ from researchers over communication professionals and journalists to media users.
Empirical investigations:
1) Review of public debates on knowledge production and – communication
2) Explorative interviews with communication professionals and journalists
3) Detailed study of the production, communication and consump- tion of research communication related to a work package of the network ‘Civil Society and New Forms of Government in Europe’
a. Interviews with Danish researchers, communication professionals and journalists
b. Participant observation at meetings and interviews where actors from different domains interact
c. Focus group interviews with media users (reception studies)
1) and 2) are meant to shed light on present practices and views regard- ing communication of social scientific knowledge 3) is the ‘food chain study’ 1) and 2) will form the basis of institutional/organizational analyses, while the concrete interactions in 3) will be analyzed as an interplay between different discourses.

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