What is Public Engagement with Science?

The AABA Education Committee follows the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s definition of public engagement, which states: 

“Public engagement with science describes intentional, meaningful interactions that provide opportunities for mutual learning between scientists and the public. Mutual learning refers not just to the acquisition of knowledge, but also to increased familiarity with a breadth of perspectives, frames, and worldviews.”

The AABA Education Committee encourages its members to learn best practices for public engagement with science. As such we have provided a list of resources so that you can learn what leaders in this field are doing.

Best Practices

Communicating scientific facts and data clearly and accurately is an important element of science engagement. However, years of research on science communication has shown that for engagement about science to be meaningful and impactful, “facts are not enough.” (Hayhoe 2018). While the study of science communication and engagement is a robust field, some general best practices and principles have emerged including:

The AABA Education Committee suggests these resources and readings as starting points to learn about science engagement:

Suggested resources:

Suggested readings:

Examples of Public Engagement with Science related to Biological Anthropology

What does public engagement with science look like? Here are some examples of how biological anthropologists and scientists in related fields are engaging with the public, drawing on some of the best practices outlined above. Please note that while these programs and activities are provided as examples of public engagement from within the field, the views and ideas expressed by the creators and participants do not necessarily reflect those of the AABA Education committee or AABA as a whole.