Designing and Delivering Webinars to Improve Science Communication and Engagement between Environmental Researchers and Natural Resource Practitioners
Research across natural resource management disciplines has identified an implementation gap between researchers and managers, where institutional norms and practices limit integration of novel data and observations into decision-making. This gap has largely been addressed using one-way science communication tools such as publications and conference presentations. While these tools can be designed and delivered effectively, mounting evidence suggests two-way communication builds more trust, enhances engagement, and may lead to more active use of scientific information in decision-making. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Western Regional Collaboration Team’s West Watch webinar is a one-way communication tool that shares information about climate, weather, and ocean condition anomalies to an internal audience of NOAA experts and key partners. NOAA is interested in expanding this tool to improve information accessibility and use by communities of interest that NOAA serves. This research uses a mixed-methods approach to evaluate how West Watch could change to function as a two-way communication tool, facilitating bilateral information movement between research presenters and the audience. Research results, supported by literature, inform five best practices and recommendations for changes to West Watch, as well as the design and implementation of future science communication tools.
Authors: Emily N. Mazur, Shelby E. Walker, Cristen Don, Flaxen D.L. Conway