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Department of Science Education,
University of Delta, Agbor, Delta State. 


Science communication plays a pivotal role in shaping our society by promoting scientific literacy and empowering individuals to make informed decisions. This abstract explores the transformative potential of improved science communication skills and highlights their significance in various contexts. Effective science communication bridges the gap between the scientific community and the public, fostering understanding, trust, and engagement. It equips scientists with the ability to effectively share their findings and counter misinformation while empowering individuals to critically evaluate scientific information and contribute to the advancement of scientific knowledge. Moreover, improved science communication skills promote inclusivity and equity by ensuring that scientific information is accessible and understandable to diverse audiences. To unlock the full potential of science communication, continued investment in science education, professional development, and innovative communication strategies is essential. 

Keywords: Scientific, literacy, Science, communication, & Education 

DOI: 10.36349/zamijoh.2023.v02i01.001


The 21st century has witnessed an unprecedented increase in science and technology innovations in history. It is also ironic that in the face of these breakthroughs, humanity is still plagued with misconception, ignorance about science, and apathy towards the benefits of science and technological innovations in such areas as vaccination, genetic modification of foods to solve problems of hunger and starvation, population control policies, organ transplants and many other life-saving efforts due to poor level of scientific literacy. Many have lost their lives in avoidable circumstances due to ignorance. Literacy is a complex construct consisting of knowledge, attitude, and skills for performing in a wide variety of contexts. Literacy is required for individuals to understand, conceptualize and exhibit mastery in different domains of life (Moemeke, 2015; Luchembe, 2016). Scientific literacy involves an understanding of underlying scientific concepts across various disciplines such as physics, chemistry, biology, and earth sciences and knowledge of scientific principles, theories, and laws that explain natural phenomena and scientific processes (Murphy, Smith & Broderick, 2021; Supless et al., 2014; Lee, 2014). It encompasses an understanding of the scientific method and the process of inquiry such as how to formulate scientific questions, design experiments, collect and analyze data, and draw evidence-based conclusions (Giannoukos, 2016; Slater et al., 2019). It recognizes the limitations and uncertainties inherent in scientific investigations and includes skills in identifying logical fallacies, distinguishing correlation from causation, analyzing data and graphs, and interpreting scientific literature (Elvianasti, 2022; Ridho, Aminah, &Supriyanto, 2018). These abilities according to Elvianasti (2022) enable individuals to assess how valid and reliable scientific claims are so as to make informed judgments.

Scientific literacy recognizes the nature of science as a dynamic, human-driven enterprise which includes understanding the social, historical, and cultural factors that shape scientific discoveries and the process of scientific inquiry (Ross, Hooten& Cohen, 2013). This component involves recognizing the contributions of scientists, understanding the peer-review process, and appreciating the role of creativity and collaboration in scientific advancements. Scientific literacy builds awareness of the impact of science on society and the reciprocal relationship between science and societal issues and the understanding of the ethical implications of scientific discoveries, the role science plays in addressing societal challenges, and the importance of informed decision-making based on scientific evidence (Costa, et al., 2021). It             refers to the understanding of scientific concepts, processes, and practices needed by individuals to engage with and make informed decisions about the natural world (Surpless, Bushey&Halx 2014; Widiyanti, Indriyanti&Ngabekti, 2015; Slater, Huxster&Bresticker, 2019). When individuals are empowered with scientific literacy, it enables critical evaluation of scientific claims, the understanding of the evidence behind them, and weighing the potential risks and benefits (Deming et.al 2012; Shaffer, Ferguson &Denaro, 2019; Muslim et al, 2017; Shaffer, Ferguson &Denaro, 2019; Dewi et al., 2020). This understanding is necessary for citizens to contribute to shaping the future of their communities and society at large. Cohen et al. (2015) and Moran et al. (2014) noted that scientific literacy opens to individuals a wide array of career opportunities and career paths. Emerging fields in science and science-related fields like data science, artificial intelligence, and biotechnology require compact scientific literacy for the successful charting of career paths.

Crucial to health and well-being is the understanding of basic scientific principles and health-related information available to citizens. Scientific literacy nurtures a lifelong learning mindset posited on curiosity, asking questions, and searching for scientific explanations in order to understand the world around them. Scientifically literate individuals are often updated on current and latest discoveries, and new ideas and so is easily adapt to the rapidly evolving knowledge landscape (Yang et al. 2010; Surpless, Bushey&Halx, 2014). This paper thus exposes howstudents can be empowered with these skills via effective science education for national growth.

Science Communication Skills and Its Importance in science literacy development

Individuals are likely to utilize and consume products for which they are well informed. Science communication plays a pivotal role in enhancing public understanding of scientific concepts and discoveries (Kreps &Kriner, 2020; Davis et al. 2018). Effective science communication ensures that policymakers and stakeholders are well-informed about the latest scientific research and its implications (Broks, 2017). By effectively conveying complex scientific information, science communicators enable policymakers to make evidence-based decisions that promote the well-being of society, drive sustainable development, and address pressing challenges. In addition. Effective science communication inspires young learners to learn science.

Science communication thrives on trust and credibility in the works of science practitioners and innovators (Ramírez-i-Ollé, 2017, Matta, 2020). Openness and transparency are key scientific attitudes that add credibility to the works of scientists. When the process adopted, materials used, results reached and conclusions drawn are clearly communicated, it informs subsequent science researchers of what has been done, what needs to be done, and gaps in knowledge that need to be filled thus fostering engaging public discourse and reliable information based on integrity and value addition

Barriers to Effective Science Communication

Efforts at promoting effective science communication, according to Rose, Markowitz, and Brossard (2020) and Hunter (2016) that tension exists due to a lack of institutional support and confidence in communication skills. Some of the issues raised are

Poor quality Science Education: limited access to quality science content, and the absence of science equipped laboratories, and poor teacher quality, hinder the development of scientific literacy. Traditional teaching methods that focus on rote memorization and disconnected facts fail to inspire curiosity and intrinsic motivation. When school science is  not related to students' lives or future aspirations, it can hinder their interest and engagement, impeding the development of scientific literacy.

Knowledge overflow: The complexity and rapid advancement of scientific knowledge poses challenges to developing scientific literacy. The vast amount of information, technical terminology, and intricate concepts within different scientific disciplines oftentimes overwhelm learners, making it difficult to grasp and apply scientific principles effectively.

Naïve experiences: Preconceived notions, misconceptions, and misunderstandings about science can impede the development of scientific literacy. These often arise from incomplete or inaccurate information, personal beliefs, cultural influences, or exposure to pseudoscience.

Communicating complex scientific ideas effectively can be challenging, particularly for students and individuals who are not fluent in the language of instruction or who face language barriers. This is often the case among non-Western science learners who not only battle with learning contents but also with understanding and making meanings out of the language of instruction.

Societal stereotypes and biases related to gender, race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status influence perceptions of who can be a scientist and contribute to scientific knowledge. These biases create barriers to developing scientific literacy, as they may discourage certain individuals or groups from pursuing science careers, leading to a lack of diversity and inclusivity.

In crowded curricula or time-constrained educational settings, the emphasis on standardized testing and coverage of multiple contents reduces the time allocated for in-depth exploration of scientific concepts and the development of scientific literacy skills. This limits opportunities for hands-on experimentation, critical thinking, and deep engagement with scientific content.

In this age of digital media and information overload, distinguishing reliable scientific information from misinformation can be challenging. The spread of pseudoscience, misinformation, and fake news can undermine scientific literacy efforts by creating confusion and eroding trust in scientific institutions and knowledge.

 Overcoming these challenges and barriers requires a concerted effort from educators, policymakers, and society as a whole. Finlay et al (2021) suggests that science communication should be mainstreamed rather than remaining in the margin of the field of science education.

Guidelines for Effective Science Communication

Key challenges in effective science communication is the use of technical jargon and transforming complex scientific concepts into clear and accessible language. Tan and Perucho (2018) and Davis et al. (2018) advocates a shift toward the locales of target communities to counter the rising mistrust in science. Effective science communication can be achieved through:

1.          Know Your Audience: Understanding your audience is essential for effective science communication. Consider their level of scientific knowledge, interests, and motivations. Adapt your language, examples, and analogies to suit their background, making the information relatable and engaging.

2.          Break down complex scientific concepts into simpler bits that even laymen can understand. Overwhelming the audience with excessive technical details formulas and equations should be avoided but only used in the community of practitioners. Focus on conveying the core ideas and key takeaways. Use analogies, metaphors, and real-life examples to make the concepts more relatable and understandable. When using technical terms, ensure you provide clear definitions and explanations to aid comprehension.

3.          Humans are naturally drawn to stories. Use storytelling techniques to communicate scientific concepts. Frame your message within a narrative structure, incorporating characters, conflicts, and resolutions. This approach can engage emotions and make the information more memorable.

4.           Visuals and multimedia can greatly enhance science communication. The use of diagrams, infographics, videos, and images to complement your explanations is often of great help. Visual representations can simplify complex ideas, make them more tangible, and facilitate understanding.

5.          Connect scientific concepts to real-world applications and personal relevance. Highlight the practical implications and benefits of scientific knowledge. Explain how scientific discoveries impact daily life, health, environment, or societal issues, capturing the audience's interest and demonstrating the relevance of science in their lives.

6.          Science communication is a two-way process. Actively listening to your audience's questions, concerns, and feedback is important in keeping them focused, relaxed, and interested in the work. Engaging in dialogue fosters a sense of connection, builds trust, and enhances understanding.

7.          Always seek feedback on your science communication efforts. Reflect on what worked well and what could be improved. Iterate and refine your communication strategies based on audience reactions and insights, constantly striving to enhance clarity and effectiveness.

It is only when the information being propagated is successfully understood that the inherent knowledge will be understood and consumed adequately. By embracing these strategies, science communicators can communicate scientific concepts effectively, engage their audience, and inspire a greater appreciation and understanding of science in the broader community.

Integrating Science Communication Skills into Curriculum and Instruction

How then can scientific communication be integrated into the science curriculum? Integrating science communication skills development into the curriculum of schools at all levels is essential for preparing students to effectively communicate scientific concepts and engage with diverse audiences.

1.             Create lesson topics on science communication. During these specific lessons or units, students should be taught communication skills because language learning is key to effective communication. Introduce students to the importance of effective science communication, the target audiences, and the different modes of communication they will encounter (e.g., writing, speaking, visual communication). g

2.             Use common examples that are in the environment of the learners to domesticate knowledge: Using real-world examples of science communication, such as scientific articles, science news reports, or science podcasts makes learning easy. Analyze these examples with students, discussing the strategies used, the intended audience, and the effectiveness of the communication.

3.             Use Scaffolds: Provide scaffolded writing activities that guide students through the process of communicating scientific information effectively. Start with shorter writing tasks, such as writing summaries or explanations, and gradually progress to more complex writing assignments, such as scientific reports or persuasive essays.

4.             Engage students in Oral Presentations and discussions: Incorporate opportunities for students to give oral presentations, such as research findings, scientific debates, or informative speeches. Teach them effective presentation techniques, including structuring presentations, using visuals, to engage the audience, and promoting peer-to-peer discussions about scientific topics. Assign group projects or debate activities where students can practice expressing their ideas, listening to others, and engaging in scientific discourse. Teach them effective communication and active listening skills during these discussions.

5.             Multimedia Projects: Integrate multimedia projects into the curriculum where students can use various media formats to communicate scientific concepts. Assign tasks such as creating videos, podcasts, infographics, or interactive presentations. Provide guidance on using appropriate visuals, language, and storytelling techniques.

6.             Create Broadfields: Connect science with other subjects, such as language arts, social studies, or art. Encourage students to communicate scientific ideas through interdisciplinary projects that incorporate different modes of communication and engage a broader audience.

7.             Create an effective feedback mechanism: Emphasize the importance of peer feedback and revision in science communication. Teach students how to provide constructive feedback on each other's work, focusing on clarity, organization, and effective communication techniques. Encourage them to revise and improve their work based on feedback received.

8.             Use resource persons, Guest Speakers, and Field Experiences: From time to time invite guest speakers, such as science communicators, journalists, or scientists, to share their experiences and insights on effective science communication. Organize field trips or virtual experiences to science museums, research institutions, or science communication events to expose students to real-world science communication contexts.

Strategies for Assessing Science Communication Skills

Science educators can create modalities for assessing science communication skills by adopting the following recommendations. 

1.             Schedule oral presentation: Assess students' oral communication skills by assigning presentations where they communicate scientific information to their peers or a wider audience. Teachers should look out for students’ ability to articulate ideas, use effective presentation techniques, engage the audience, and respond to questions or feedback.

2.             Give projects that allow innovation: Such as multimedia projects, such as videos, podcasts, or infographics, where students communicate scientific concepts using different media formats. Assess their ability to effectively use visuals, audio, or interactive elements to enhance understanding and engagement. Also, look out for some personal innovations that student brings in.

3.             Use of written assignments: Assign written tasks that require students to communicate scientific ideas through various formats, such as essays, research papers, blog posts, or science news articles. Assess their ability to convey complex concepts clearly, use appropriate language and terminology, and structure their writing effectively. Such things as an introduction, brevity, conciseness, transition, and conclusion should be scored

4.             Use of Science Communication Portfolios: Have students create portfolios that showcase their science communication efforts throughout the course or academic year. Portfolios can include written work, presentations, multimedia projects, or evidence of engagement in science communication activities. Evaluate their growth, improvement, and reflection on their communication skills over time.

5.             Peer and Self-Assessment: Incorporate peer and self-assessment components, where students evaluate their own and their peers' science communication skills based on provided criteria. This approach encourages students to reflect on their strengths and areas for improvement and develop a deeper understanding of effective science communication.

6.             Provide Rubrics and Scoring Guides: The teacher should provide rubrics or scoring guides that outline the specific criteria for assessing science communication skills. Include criteria such as clarity, organization, use of appropriate language, accuracy of scientific content, engagement of the audience, and effective use of communication strategies. Use the rubrics to provide clear and constructive feedback to students. This will enable the student to understand where the focus is while communicating science.

7.             Use classroom observation inventories: Observe students' participation in class discussions, group activities, or science communication events. Evaluate their ability to communicate scientific ideas, engage with peers, and effectively contribute to scientific discourse.

8.             Reflective Journals or Reflection Papers: Assign reflective journals or papers where students critically reflect on their science communication experiences. Evaluate their ability to analyze their strengths, challenges, and growth as science communicators and their understanding of the importance of effective science communication.

9.             Science competitions: The teacher should organize science communication events or competitions where students have the opportunity to demonstrate their science communication skills in real time.

Designing authentic assessment methods for science communication

An innovative science communication developer should be proactive in designing authentic assessment methods for science communication. This helps to evaluate students' ability to apply their knowledge and skills in real-world contexts. This can be achieved by

1.             Organizing science communication campaign to create awareness on a specific topic or issue where students design and create informational materials, organize events or workshops, or use digital platforms to engage with the public.

2.             Organize a science communication event where students present their scientific findings or concepts to a wider audience, such as parents, community members, or younger students. Assess their ability to tailor their communication to the specific audience, engage the attendees, and effectively convey scientific information in an accessible manner.

3.              Teachers can set up a school science magazine and assign students to write science news articles or produce multimedia reports on scientific research or discoveries. This will provide an avenue to assess their ability to gather reliable information, critically analyze scientific findings, and communicate them accurately and engagingly to a general audience.

4.             Provide students the opportunity to participate in science education events such as Junior Scientist’s context. Students can work with scientists to translate their research into accessible language, create educational materials, or assist in science outreach activities. An example is the Science Teachers Association’s annual organized workshop and talk shows for students of secondary school age. This provides avenue to assess their ability to collaborate and reason scientifically.

5.             Keep science communication portfolios of all students that showcase their science communication efforts over time. This may include a variety of communication products, such as written assignments, oral presentations, multimedia projects, and reflections on their growth as science communicators. Assess their ability to demonstrate a range of communication skills, reflect on their progress, and showcase their best work. The best portfolio may win an award at the end of the academic.

6.             Also, an innovative teacher can design a science communication evaluation report and have students evaluate existing science communication efforts, such as science documentaries, museum exhibits, or science websites. The teacher then assesses their ability to critically analyze the effectiveness of the communication methods used, the clarity of the conveyed information, the engagement of the target audience as well as their recommendations for improving science communication.

Examples of science communication initiatives in literature

Some examples of successful science communication programmes include

Ø  The Science Communication Fellowship by the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science which is a fellowship program that provides scientists with training in effective science communication techniques.

Ø  The Story Collider: This initiative presents live storytelling events where scientists, researchers, and individuals share personal stories about their experiences with science. These stories humanize the scientific process and create a connection between scientists and the audience.

Ø  The Girls Who Code Program: While not solely focused on science communication, the Girls Who Code program encourages young girls to explore and engage with computer science.

Ø  Science Cafés are informal gatherings where scientists and the public come together to discuss and explore scientific topics. In the science café, there is an opportunity for dialogue between the public and scientists in a relaxed mood.

Ø  SciComm Success Stories on social media: Numerous scientists and science communicators have found success by using social media platforms to share science-related content. Channels like YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter have allowed them to reach wide audiences with engaging and informative content. Platforms such as ‘AsapSCIENCE’ and ‘The Brain Scoop’ have garnered millions of followers, making science engaging, entertaining, and accessible to diverse audiences.


Some Scientific Literacy and Communication Skills Programmes

There are several exemplary programmes that successfully integrate scientific literacy and communication skills. Some of them are

1.             The Alda-Kavli Learning Center for Science Communication: This program, established by the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science and the Kavli Foundation, train scientists to effectively communicate their research to diverse audiences. Through workshops, courses, and immersive experiences, the program equips scientists with communication skills,storytelling techniques, and strategies for engaging non-science audiences.

2.             Science Education Partnerships programmes in universities and institutes: Many universities and research institutions collaborate with local schools and communities to develop science education partnerships. These programmes aim to enhance scientific literacy and communication skills among students by providing hands-on experiences, mentorship opportunities, and community engagement.

3.             STEM Ambassador Programnes: STEM ambassador programs, such as the UK's STEM Ambassador program, recruit and train scientists, engineers, and technologists to engage with schools and communities. Ambassadors visit schools, organize workshops, and participate in events to promote scientific literacy and inspire young people to pursue STEM subjects.

4.             Citizen Science Initiatives: Citizen science projects involve the public in scientific research, allowing them to actively contribute to data collection, analysis, and communication. Examples include Zooniverse, where volunteers assist in classifying astronomical, ecological, and historical data, and iNaturalist, which enables users to contribute to biodiversity observations.

5.             Science Journalism Fellowships: Science journalism fellowships, such as those offered by organizations like the Knight Science Journalism Program at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the Mass Media Science & Engineering Fellows Program, provide journalists with immersive experiences in scientific research institutions. These fellowships enable journalists to develop a deep understanding of scientific topics and enhance their ability to communicate complex scientific concepts accurately and effectively to the public.

6.             Science Festivals and Public Events: like the USA Science & Engineering Festival and the World Science Festival, the Junior Engineers, Technologists, and Scientists (JETS) programme Science Teachers’ Association of Nigeria (STAN)annual science fares and exhibitions have inspired many youths to take up science over the years.

Emerging Trends and Innovations in Science Communication

Science communication is a dynamic field that continuously evolves to adapt to new technologies, trends, and audience preferences. It involves

Digital Storytelling:  Digital platforms provide new platforms for engaging in storytelling in science communication. Podcasts, YouTube channels, and social media platforms offer accessible and interactive formats for scientists and communicators to share stories, discoveries, and insights. This trend allows for creative and engaging content that reaches diverse audiences.

Data Visualization and Infographics: Data is at the heart of scientific investigations and as data becomes more prevalent in scientific research, effective data visualization techniques are needed for communicating complex information. Infographics, interactive visualizations, and data-driven storytelling help make scientific data more accessible, visually appealing, and understandable to a broader audience.

Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR):  They allow users to explore scientific concepts, visit inaccessible locations (such as the deep sea or outer space), and engage with virtual scientific experiments. These technologies offer interactive and engaging learning experiences that enhance understanding and curiosity.

Gamification: This refers to using games in communicating scientific knowledge and principles to learners. Gamification incorporates game elements and mechanics into science communication to make learning more interactive and enjoyable. Science-themed mobile apps, online games, and interactive simulations engage users through challenges, rewards, and problem-solving activities. Gamification fosters active participation, and knowledge retention, and promotes scientific inquiry.

Science Communication on social media: Scientists and science communicators leverage platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and WhatsApp to share bite-sized science content, engage with audiences, and build communities around specific scientific topics using microblogging, live streaming, and short-form videos.

Science Festivals and Pop-up Science Centers: Science festivals and pop-up science centers offer interactive and hands-on experiences to engage the public in scientific exploration. These events bring together scientists, researchers, and the public to participate in science-themed activities, workshops, and demonstrations. They promote direct interaction, sparking curiosity and fostering a deeper understanding of scientific concepts.

Science Communication for policy advocacy: Scientists and science communicators actively engage with policymakers, in translating scientific research into policy-relevant language, and advocating for evidence-based decision-making. A typical example is the advocacy for women scientists by the Organization of Women in Science in Developing World (OWSD)

Using artistic expression in communicating science: Science-inspired art exhibitions, performances, and installations blend scientific concepts with artistic expression, appealing to a broader audience and fostering interdisciplinary collaboration.

Specialized training in Science Communication for Scientists: Recognizing the importance of effective communication, scientists are provided with resources, workshops, and professional development opportunities to enhance their communication skills and engage with diverse audiences.By embracing these approaches, science communicators can effectively convey complex scientific concepts, bridge the gap between science and society, and inspire a new generation of scientifically literate individuals.


The Role of Science Educators in Advancing Scientific Literacy and Communication

Science educators who are the implementers of policies on education, work closely with learners and their parents in fostering the understanding of science and changing attitudes. They

v  provide students with a solid background for understanding scientific concepts, principles, and processes through appropriate classroom interactions, teaching strategies, and the use of material in teaching. In this way science teachers help to dispel myths, counter superstition and clear misconceptions in learners.

v  promote critical thinking skills by encouraging students to analyze, evaluate, and question scientific information, to approach scientific claims with skepticism while employing evidence-based reasoning, and scientific mindset.

v  create engaging learning environments that foster active participation, social interaction, collaboration, and inquiry through hands-on experiments, group discussions, projects, and real-world applications that make science learning relevant and exciting.

v  Promote inquiry and exploration by encouraging students to explore scientific phenomena, ask questions, and conduct investigations. They guide students in the scientific inquiry process, teaching them how to design experiments, collect and analyze data, and draw conclusions.

v  promote diversity and inclusion in science classrooms thus giving each learner the opportunity to garner information and opinions from diverse perspectives, experiences, and backgrounds. By incorporating culturally relevant examples, addressing gender and racial disparities in science, and providing equal opportunities for all students, educators foster a sense of belonging and enhance science communication across diverse populations.


Scientific literacy and communication skills are the nexus of scientific practice. People will only believe, accept and consume scientific innovations when they are aware of them and understand them from evidence-based perspectives. A concerted effort is needed to improve science teacher education, produce quality teachers to drive science education, and encourage innovations in science literacy and communication. This will help dispelapathy toward scientific innovations.Also, scientific literacy and communication should be included in the curriculum of science teacher education to enable teachers to develop the capacity to foster it in young science learners.


The transformative potential of improved science communication skills and their roles in advancing scientific literacy is the subject of this paper. It highlights the importance of effective science communication in bridging the gap between the scientific community and the public, fostering understanding, trust, and engagement. Improved science communication skills empower scientists to effectively share their findings and counter misinformationwhile enabling individuals to critically evaluate scientific information and make informed decisions. It emphasizes the significance of inclusive and equitable science communication that is accessible to diverse audiences. The paper also discussed the impact of science communication on societal issues and the need for continued investment in science education and professional development. Overall, the paper underscores the transformative power of improved science communication skills in creating a scientifically literate and informed society.



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