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A social network approach to understanding science communication among fire professionals (Abstract)


Wright, Vita; Thode, Andrea; Mottek-Lucas, Anne; Fallon, Jacklynn; Matonis, Megan. 2012. A social network approach to understanding science communication among fire professionals (Abstract). In: Robinson, M., comp. Program and Abstracts of 3rd Human Dimensions in Wildland Fire Conference; 17-19 April 2012; Seattle, Washington. Missoula, MT: International Association of Wildland Fire. p. 97.

Studies of science communication and use in the fire management community suggest manager's access research via informal information networks and that these networks vary by both agency and position. We used a phone survey followed by traditional statistical analyses to understand the informal social networks of fire professionals in two western regions of the United States (Northern Rockies and Southwest). In these regions, we sampled federal and tribal decision-makers, fire management officers, fire ecologists and fuels specialists to determine 1) who they go to for scientific information supporting fuels management, 2) why they go to these individuals and 3) how they communicate with these individuals. We will present preliminary results of analyses of the extent to which communication about science is driven by formal positions and corresponding responsibilities, expertise and/or personal history of working together. Results are compared between the two regions. Science communicators can use information about personal sources of fire science information to design points of entry for more strategic and efficient science communication. In contrast to a broadcast approach, an approach strategically based on understanding the characteristics of communication networks would be expected to shorten time lags to diffusion.

Keywords: science communication, information networks


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Title: RMRS Other Publications: A social network approach to understanding science communication among fire professionals (Abstract)
Electronic Publish Date: October 2, 2012
Last Update:
October 2, 2012

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