Data shows that using science in an argument just makes people more partisan
December 23 2016
Yale behavioral economist Dan Kahan’s research reveals that the use of reason is more likely to increase partisan beliefs than to reduce them, for liberals and conservatives alike. Kahan has also found that people with greater scientific intelligence are actually more likely to take partisan positions on unfamiliar subjects. In contrast, those are less likely to take partisan positions tend to demonstrate higher levels of “scientific curiosity.”
Neural correlates of maintaining one’s political beliefs in the face of counterevidence
December 23 2016
Using neuroimaging, scientists from UCLA and Project Reason set out to uncover what happens in the brain when strongly held political convictions are challenged. They found that these kinds of challenges produced increased activity in the default mode network, which is associated with self-identity, as well as in the amygdala, which is associated with negative emotions. These results indicate that our brains process information that relates to our firmly held beliefs differently from the way they process other information—which may provide insight for those seeking to correct misinformation and change minds.
Narrative style influences citation frequency in climate change science
December 15 2016
In a study of 732 climate change-related abstracts from 19 journals, researchers from the University of Washington discovered that abstracts written in a more narrative style garnered more citations, and that influential journals were more likely to include studies written in a narrative style. These results indicate that “writing in a more narrative style increases the uptake and influence of articles in climate literature, and perhaps in scientific literature more broadly.”
Advancing the story: The next chapter in media impact
November 12 2016
See video highlights from the Norman Lear Center and the Paley Center for Media’s November 2016 event exploring how technology and storytelling can increase engagement with social issues. In one presentation, Johanna Blakely describes how to “connect the dots between media exposure and social or political action.”
Whites more likely than nonwhites to have spoken to a local journalist
November 11 2016
Recent research from the Pew Research Center reveals that whites, college graduates and higher income earners are more likely to be interviewed by local journalists. This discrepancy is “particularly striking given that nonwhites generally are more engaged consumers of local news than whites.”
Research and evaluation in the nonprofit sector: Implications for equity, diversity and inclusion
October 19 2016
Researchers from the Tisch College of Civic Life at Tufts University examine role of equity, diversity and inclusion within nonprofit research and evaluation, offering a series of questions for nonprofits to consider during the research and evaluation process to ensure that every phase—from research design to data collection and analysis to sharing results—has inclusivity fully baked into the process.
This new book from James T. Hamilton sets out to prove the real-world impact of investigative journalism, laying out the evidence for how “a single dollar invested in a story can generate hundreds of dollars in social benefits.” Hamilton dissects the work of The News and Observer’s Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Pat Smith—whose reporting led to the passage of dozens of laws and wide-ranging impact.
The Engaging News Project at the University of Texas at Austin conducted an experiment to examine the usefulness of push notifications for news apps. Results from the 420-person study revealed that push notifications led to increased usage of news apps and visits to news sites—and, in some cases, significantly increased news knowledge as well.
Study: Decline of traditional media feeds polarization
September 19 2016
Is social media becoming the new mainstream media? “In this whole changing environment, new generations are growing up not differentiating journalism from entertainment, journalism from advocacy, and even information from opinion,” writes Ricardo Gandour, visiting scholar at the Columbia Journalism School.
According to the Center for Effective Philanthropy and the Center for Evaluation Innovation, this report represents “the most comprehensive data collection effort to date on evaluation practices at foundations.” It provides data and analysis on how foundations think about and employ evaluation strategies and practices, including investment in evaluation, evaluation staffing, and the ensuring the usefulness of evaluation information.
Strategic science communication on environmental issues
August 30 2016
Developed in support of the Alan Leshner Leadership Institute American Association for the Advancement of Science, this report reviews four multi-faceted, evidence-based science communications strategies for scientists in need of effective ways to communicate with the public about pressing climate and other environmental issues. These strategies are designed to address “maintaining trust in politicized debates; countering misinformation and false beliefs; tailoring information to audiences; and promoting informal conversations about environmental problems.”
Pew report shows that tweeting about race is more than “hashtag activism”
August 15 2016
A new Pew report serves to remind us of the huge role social media plays as a platform for discussion about race and racism in America. The report affirms that activism via Twitter or Facebook isn’t just frivolous but “can serve to spread breaking news, raise awareness of larger issues, and guide media coverage of individual incidents and larger concerns.”