Political Science Now

Let’s Be Heard: Communicating Policy-Relevant Science

Communicating Policy-Relevant Science

James N. Druckman, Northwestern University

In this article, James N. Druckman explores the practical question of how political science can be best communicated to both policy makers and citizens. He begins by discussing how individuals actually form opinions and make decisions. He explains the four “common features of information processing” that apply to individuals: values and information, motivated reasoning, politicization, and competence. Next, Druckman applies these principles to making science communication more effective, whether that be having scientists get more involved in communicating or just finding ways to retain attention, build credibility, and overcome politicization.

He concludes by saying, “If scientists hope to play a role in policy making or even to ensure continued federal support of their work, it is essential that identifying effective communication strategies becomes a paramount goal. In the current politicized and polarized environment, a failure to demonstrate why and how science matters ultimately could render moot much of science.”

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