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Professionalization of Outreach: Recommendations for Individual Volunteers

By Jeanne Garbarino , SciOut18 Task Force

This set of recommendations is intended for scientists and scientific professionals who regularly engage, typically as a volunteer, as inward stakeholders within the science outreach framework. There are a variety of reasons why scientists and scientific professionals participate in science outreach, yet these core requirements should be met by all whenever possible.

1. Connect with your target audience (outward stakeholders) to understand what they wish to gain from the science outreach framework.

It is very common for a scientist to enthusiastically get involved in science outreach to share their work and connect with new audiences. In order to meet the minimum requirements for science outreach, it is essential to learn about, and possibly partner with, your target outward stakeholder group when designing and executing any science outreach program or initiative. To do this effectively, particularly if you do not have a personal connection to this community, it is essential to learn best practices for minimizing bias, and maximizing inclusivity. The implementation of culturally inclusive practices helps to meet audiences where they are, and promote interactions that are meaningful and relevant.

2. Seek out existing local science outreach initiatives.

In connecting with and learning from established science outreach programs, it reduces the possibility of reinventing the wheel when it comes to engagement. Whether you want to plug into the existing efforts, or simply get advice on how to start your own initiative, tapping into a more developed science outreach network can save you time and effort.

This is an excerpt from the SciOut18 White Paper: Recommendations for the Continued Professionalization of Science Outreach within the Scientific Enterprise which can be downloaded in its entirety in the Save & Share sidebar

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