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Engaging with Online Audiences: A cross-country analysis of use of the Web for communicating biomedical science to public audiences.

Cody, Lindsay (2010) Engaging with Online Audiences: A cross-country analysis of use of the Web for communicating biomedical science to public audiences. Master of Arts thesis, Dublin City University.

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This research project is an examination of the websites of biomedical research institutes to identify the extent to which the Web is used to communicate science to public audiences. Through a review of the literature, it was found that biomedical research institutes can communicate information effectively by targeting content at particular segments of their audience; providing in-depth yet accessible information; endeavouring to take an open approach to communication, in order to build trust, which does not attempt to shield the public from uncertainty; and blending different approaches to, or models of, communication. This research was accomplished through a content analysis of the websites of 68 biomedical research centres in the United Kingdom, Ireland, United States, Canada and Continental Europe. The websites were examined for their attribution and transparency; content and currency; interactivity and navigation; design; and accessibility. Further data was obtained through questionnaires from communication practitioners in the institutes in order to validate content analysis results. Research has shown that biomedical research institutes in the United States surpass the other countries in their efforts to communicate with public audiences via the Web. Of the five highest scoring websites, four were located in the United States. On a whole however, the public communication of biomedical research does not appear to be the primary aim of online communication and the deficit model is still widely used with very little opportunity provided for user discussion or interaction.

Item Type:Thesis (Master of Arts)
Date of Award:22 September 2010
Supervisor(s):Trench, Brian
Subjects:Social Sciences > Communication
DCU Faculties and Centres:DCU Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Humanities and Social Science > School of Communications
Use License:This item is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License. View License
ID Code:15722
Deposited On:04 Apr 2011 15:54 by Roderick Flynn. Last Modified 04 Apr 2011 15:54

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