Vicki Martin is a PhD Candidate in the School of Environment, Science & Engineering. Beginning in March 2013, her research topic is about the communication of marine science with Australian audiences. More information about her Marine ExChanges research project can be found on marineexchanges.wordpress.com/ or Facebook at www.facebook.com/MarineExChanges.
The starting point for Vicki's research is Australia's science engagement strategy, Inspiring Australia, which identified marine science as an area for opportunities to engage the public in science. Participatory approaches to scientific research, in which the public become involved, are becoming more popular as a science engagement strategy, and there are many different ways that this can take place. One type of participatory science is called 'citizen science', where the public are asked to contribute to scientific knowledge in some way (often by collecting information for scientists). Vicki is interested in ways that the public get involved in marine science, and how this might impact on Australians' attitudes and interest in science.
The focus of her research is on the potential for marine citizen science to increase public engagement in science generally. The title for her thesis is 'Science engagement from the audiences' perspective: can participatory marine science communication increase public engagement in science?' Her research is asking marine users about:
- the factors which influence their engagement (or lack of engagement) with marine citizen science,
- the ways they would prefer to participate in science,
- whether marine citizen science is likely to attract people who are not really interested in science in the first place, and
- the communication needs of the audience, as well as other background factors.