Art Exhibit for Comprehension and Interest of Disease Ecology Research
ASM Journals, Journal of Microbiology and Biology Education
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Art is a common approach for communicating and educating about science, yet it remains unclear the extent to which science art can benefit varied audiences in varied contexts. To examine this gap, we developed an art exhibit based on the findings of two publications in disease ecology. In Study 1, we asked visitors with varying formal STEM education backgrounds to complete a survey about their interest in science research before and after viewing the exhibit. In Study 2, we recruited upper-level ecology undergraduate students to receive one of three treatments: engage with the art exhibit, read the abstracts of the papers, or do neither. Students completed a comprehension quiz immediately after their learning treatment and again two weeks later to evaluate retention. Following the exhibit, visitors who did not report a career or major in STEM showed a greater increase in research interest than visitors who did report a career or major in STEM. For the ecology undergraduate students, comprehension quiz scores were higher for students in the abstract group than the art exhibit group, while both groups scored higher than the control group. Retention of information did not significantly differ between the three groups. Overall, these findings suggest that science art exhibits are an effective method for increasing the accessibility of science to broader audiences, and that audience identifiers (e.g., level of formal education in STEM) play an important role in audience experience of science communication and science education initiatives.
Dataset for Ricci et al. 2023, "Impact of a Science Art Exhibit on Public Interest and Student Comprehension of Disease Ecology Research"
Ricci, K., McLauchlin, B., and Hua, J. (2023). Impact of a Science Art Exhibit on Public Interest and Student Comprehension of Disease Ecology Research. Journal of Microbiology and Biology Education.
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