Ethics in Science Communication
Ethics in Science Communication
Over the years, ethics that are associated with science communication have been neglected since most of the people have not had a clear definition of what to examine and the ethical dilemma that can be involved. The scientists have also overlooked a couple of issues that may greatly affect the discipline and cause ethical issues in the departments (Priest et al., 2018). The approaches that have been applied over the years have not majorly focused on professional practices and the means that are involved in communication. Science communication has to be handled in ethical manners so that the practical and theoretical approaches are in line with the standards set (Gasparyan et al 2015). Public relations and similar roles are some of the reasons why ethics need to be restored in science communication. The paper will use both the qualitative and quantitative analyses so that the ethical lines in science communication can be established. In the research, it will be important to use the qualitative analysis to get first-hand information from the professionals through questionnaires and interviews. In the study, qualitative analysis was also used as some of the data was extracted from peered journals and articles.
Science communication can be described as a means used to pass information from one person to an audience regarding scientific information. The kind of information being passed across from the scientist to the audience is very important as it plays a major role in the decision-making process of the people who are being addressed. The ethical issues that are involved in these cases involve moral righteousness and use of proper channels to communicate the issues that need to be addressed. Scientific communication is greatly regarded as proper moral conduct (National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine U.S., 2017). Communication made by different scientists and those involved in policy-making processes at times raise concerns regarding ethical issues that are associated with science communication. It is important that all scientists put into consideration the use of ethical science communication. The most appropriate means of passing information that is understood by non-scientists should be used at all times. The scientists also need to give accurate and honest opinions in their presentations with regards to the associated with reasoned out conclusions. Ensuring that the targeted audience understands the information being passed across is considered ethically right and should be down in the right way possible.
The scientists should not omit information that would show if there are negative implications that might affect the conclusions made at the end of the presentation. In most of the areas, the communicators have to show practical implications and involve the audience in democratic engagements. This will help a lot when it comes to creating chances for impactful discussions about the role of the people involved in science communication. Scientific communication, in a nutshell, can be defined as the force used in the field to enhance responsibility and human respect and integrity. Ethics in science communication must, therefore, involve treating the audience with dignity and observing the codes of conduct. This kind of communication is supposed to help the non-scientists to understand and accept the scientific concepts. This paper will address the ethics in science communication and both qualitative and quantitative analysis will be used for accuracy of information. The results will be discussed and the inference reached.
To collect first-hand information from the scientists, it will be necessary to use data collection methods that will be inclusive and ensure that the information received is substantial. It was, therefore, necessary to use questionnaires as one of the methods of data collection. In the questionnaire forms, the open-ended format was included so that the respondents can have a platform to air their opinions. The close-ended format was also included to minimize the amount of time that would have rather be included in carrying out the research. The population that was targeted in this quantitative method of data collection was chosen randomly in order to get a different variation of opinions from scientists. The questionnaire forms were also used in this study to see if the scientists were ethically competent. This would help a lot in determining whether the respondents were good decision-makers and if they would be able to confidently decide when the situations are hard. Among the questions that were asked in the questionnaire involved whether the respondents had been engaged in any forms of science communication. The respondents were also required to say whether they were involved in any unethical forms of science communication. In the question, the open-ended format was used to give space for further explanations by the respondents regarding the effects of unethical practices in science communication.
In the study, it was also necessary to engage the scientists physically to get detailed information in regards to ethics in science communication. The reaction and interaction with interviewees would help to collect substantial information that would be used to make inferences at the end of the study. In the study, five interviewees were questioned in order to get their opinions over the issue under study. The respondents were asked about some of the ethical issues involving science communication in their daily operations. The interviewees were supposed to give their opinion on how ethical science communication affected the integrity, respect, and responsibility of the scientists. The interviewees were also asked how misguidance and unethical practices would result in risks.
Use of peered reviewed
To get another version of information that would be used to compare with the information collected from quantitative means of gathering data, it was necessary to use peered reviewed journals. The journals and articles that were used in the study were supposed to contain the most recent studies that have been carried out by certified and competent researchers. This would help a lot when it comes to providing accurate information that would be given clear indications of ethics in science communication. The articles were also sampled to get the most relevant information that addressed the ethical issues that are in connection with science communication. The articles that were used in the study were obtained from search engines that contained information on the topic. The major keywords ethics in science communication were typed in on Google Scholar. There were over two hundred articles that were related to the topic but this number was reduced to four articles. The criterion that was used to select the articles was based on the relevance of the data used in the study, how current the information was and originality. Most of the articles were duplicated or copied from original articles. The select articles were used to give a conclusion that was more reasonable and precise.
Out of the twenty questionnaire forms that were issued at random, two of them were null as some of the questions were not properly answered and, therefore, the results obtained would not be used to make the research conclusive. The respondents also showed that they were always in contact with the clients and scientific communication was regular. The response that was obtained showed that science communication was important in improving the health and living condition of the people. The results also showed that scientists play a major role when it comes to the judgments that the audience makes after every presentation. The public mostly depends on information that is provided to them by scientists influence the decisions they make. Out of the 18 respondents 4 scientists were involved in unethical communication as they poorly illustrated and omitted some of the information that was not appealing to the audience. This affected the outcome of their conclusions and decisions of the audience. Negligence is another unethical behavior that can be observed in the field.
The interviewees gave their responses in depth and proved that transparency and high ethical standards in the field was a top priority. Scientific communication according to the interviewees is important because there are principles that guide the process. In terms of ethics, the respondents claimed that the field required higher ethical standards especially when it comes to making the audience understand and accept the scientific concepts that they are required to know. Negligence was another unethical practice amongst scientists. From the interview, it was also evident that the ethics in science communication involves knowing the audience and using the best approach to make them understand the concepts.
The results that were obtained from the peer journals and articles showed that ethics in science communication require close monitoring in order to ensure that the outcome of the decisions made by the recipients of the information is positive. According to the information obtained from the journals, it was apparent that accountability, transparency, and honesty are the most important values that every scientist needs to have. The scientists who are in-charge of administration have a role of monitoring the ethics in science communication. The objectives and goals that are set in the field will only be achieved if high ethical standards are maintained.
From the results obtained, it is apparent that ethics in science communication play an important role in making the recipients to comprehensively understand the concepts and instructions from scientists. Science communication helps a lot when it comes to clearing doubts and uncertainties during presentations. The audience is usually helped to understand the importance of scientific guidance and how irrelevant suggestions might negatively affect their decisions. Science communication when viewed from an ethical point is supposed to be undertaken at a very personal level since communication directly relates to the outcome of decisions. The communication channels and the information being passed to the recipients need to be in accordance with morally and professionally acceptable terms. Working out the ethics in science communication will help the professionals to know the right courses of actions and what the moral things include. Ethics in science communication also helps to explain the challenges and questions and emerging issues that might arise in the field. The unifying features in this kind of communication are the ethics that bound the scientists when they are advising, educating or raising awareness about the different topic being tackled in the field.
From the results, it is also apparent that observing high ethical standards will help to reduce ambiguity and misinterpretation of concepts that are supposed to be communicated with the targeted population. When raising awareness, the scientists are supposed to educate the people and explain all the necessary information while ensuring that they are honest. The data obtained from the interviewees also showed that when raising awareness, the scientists need to be open and vividly show the necessity of understanding the issue being addressed. The target population should be made to understand the effects of failing to follow the guidelines as directed by the scientists. The professionals who are entrusted with the role of educating the public are, therefore, obliged to hold high moral codes. Ethics will also ensure that the audience is not provided with information that is not well-researched or misleading to them. Scientists with high ethical conducts will know what the target population needs and the factor that can hinder communication between them. Understanding the audience will also help to know how to deliver the information in a manner that they can relate and accept the guidelines.
It can also be argued that being ethical in science communication involves a lot of decision-making and knowing what is right from wrong. Being ethical in this field means that scientists need to clarify and remove doubts in the minds of the audience. Some of the information published in the journals are not reliable and can mislead the public. It is unethical for a scientist to publish information that will cause more harm than good to the recipient of the information. Most of the unethical scientists are usually money-minded as they offer services for commercial reasons. Some of the researches that are meant to show the causes are usually altered to certain angles where the results can look reasonable but, in the end, the scientist does not depict ethics in science communication.
From the statistics, it was discovered that some of the researchers are not tied to the objectives of their studies because of their interests or political ideologies that might compromise their standards of ethics. This unethical practice reduces precision in science communication. On the contrary, it is expected that the scientists should be precise when passing across information so that the audience can be able to interpret well. This can be achieved if the scientists used ideal examples in the presentation, the right information will make the target population to accept the wonderment being shared. This will also promote better judgment as compared to when the scientists are unethical and leave the audience with inadequate information. This kind of precision in the field will help to make a substantial conclusion when it comes to researches. Ethics in science communication also ensures that the researches and studies being done focus more on the methods rather than the findings and conclusion. Different mediums can be used to communicate about scientific-related issues, including acting as long as the scientists do not cross the moral lines. The scientists are supposed to be conscientious because they are the ones entrusted with the role of educating the public.
In conclusion, science communication is important as the public can understand scientific concepts and guidelines that help them to live right. Ethics in science communication involves knowing the audience, using the right approach to raise awareness or educate them. The scientists who should are responsible for educating the target audiences are also expected to hold high moral conducts. Monitoring ethics in science communication by the administration will play a major role in ensuring that the scientists handle their duties while upholding ethics that guide them. From the results that were obtained from the study, it is evident that ethics in science communication is very essential. Those scientists who have a role to create awareness or educated should focus on the objectives rather than their personal or political interests. Scientists are also required to show high standards of ethics when they publish articles and journals. The information that is presented to the target audience should be well researched and the methods are properly explained. As seen, the communication also helps the audience to interpret the guidelines given and understand the information that is being passed across. Ethics in science communication should guide scientists to offer services with transparency, accountability and honesty.
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