MADISON — Sevie Kenyon: Deciphering the science you hear about. We’re visiting today with Dominique Brossard, Department of Life Science Communication, University of Wisconsin-Madison in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences and I’m Sevie Kenyon. Dominique, how do people determine what’s real or not when they hear about science information?
Dominique Brossard: I think you ask an excellent question that all of us should ponder and so we tend to actually pick on the headlines that pique our curiosity and very often we fail to actually click on that headline and go to the bottom of the news story.
Sevie Kenyon: Dominique, do you have some tips for people reading science news?
Dominique Brossard: Yes, and I think that the one main aspect that we need to think about is that we need to go beyond the headline because very often media organizations make money when we just click and share something without, you know, potentially us reading it.
Sevie Kenyon: What must science do to better communicate to people?
Dominique Brossard: Science should need to be listening to what communities care to talk about and not just, you know, pretending that they know best what’s good for the people but little what the people want to talk about and I think that is very important thing to do.
Sevie Kenyon: What should you do if you confront a piece of science that contradicts your existing beliefs?
Dominique Brossard: That’s where I think you need to go to the bottom line of the story and what’s complicated with science news is very often they’re based on little tiny piece of truth. You know, that gets vastly exaggerated and so going to see if there’s something that’s been published and that study was actually published in a real science journal by real researchers is the main key point to keep in mind.
Sevie Kenyon: Do our farm and rural populations have specific biases that you’re aware of based on agriculture and what they do?
Dominique Brossard: My grandpas and so on farmed dairy farms for many generations and indeed I think we are bringing up that the idea that we know better than anybody else. We feed the world and that actually our views therefore, you know, should be recognized. Well that’s a bias in itself and I think all of us we always, you know, can learn from others that do not come from the same backgrounds. So yes, we have our bias too.
Sevie Kenyon: Dominique, why should people trust scientists?
Dominique Brossard: People should trust scientists because science as an institution realize in a very, very, very carefully set of principles to come up with data that is supported by the evidence. So if something is published in a reputable scientific journal it’s because there’s a lot of work that came into having and making sure that the study has data that’s actually credible and trustworthy.
Sevie Kenyon: We’ve been visiting with Dominique Brossard, Department of Life Science Communication, University of Wisconsin-Madison in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences and I’m Sevie Kenyon.
— Dominique Brossard and Sevie Kenyon, University of Wisconsin-Extension
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