[ASC-list] Speaking of social scientists ....

Vicki Martin Vicki.Martin at scu.edu.au
Thu Mar 10 00:55:41 UTC 2016

A message from Alex Gaut, who was unable to post her reply. Alex has given permission for her response to be forwarded to the list. I hope to hear from non-social scientists, too, otherwise we are just talking amongst ourselves. If you have any thoughts, experience or other comments about the communication of social science in science communication practice, please let us know. 
Reply from Alex Gaut:

I say emphatically, YES!!
And not just communicating it, but also more collaborative projects including both social and other scientists are very much needed!
I work in the environment sector and given that the world's environmental problems are due to humans, humans have to also be the solution, which means working with people, not against them. I am always (and I mean constantly) amazed at the lack of inclusion of social scientists in environmental projects, especially at the academic level.
I have a background in hard science and last year finally signed up to do a Masters in a social science for this exact reason! So now I'm doing a research project in environmental psychology, to which most people say 'Oh, that's a thing?' and I constantly bang on about how much is known about human relationships with a variety of environments, including natural ones.

-----Original Message-----
Date: Wed, 9 Mar 2016 11:57:58 +0000
From: Vicki Martin <Vicki.Martin at scu.edu.au>
To: "asc-list at lists.asc.asn.au" <asc-list at lists.asc.asn.au>
Subject: [ASC-list] Speaking of social scientists ....
	<SG2PR06MB05692443FBC53F451998AF79A2B30 at SG2PR06MB0569.apcprd06.prod.outlook.com>

Speaking of social scientists (in a previous thread) made me wonder...

How many of you immediately think of a social scientist when you think of:

* a nominee for an Excellence in Research award
* a collaborator
* a Scientist in Schools
* a scientist (?!)
* a grant recipient
* a science communicator
And so on?

Since so many of the world's problems are human induced, requiring human solutions, I am surprised that even within ASC we very rarely mention the social sciences. It is not uncommon to see other types of scientists trying to do social research (easy right, you just need to ask a few questions?!), resulting in poor research design and meaningless, misleading or useless results.

Social scientists can help us understand why there is a problem in the first place, and what sort of interventions are likely to improve the situation. Of course it is not easy, which is why we need to defer to people who have trained in this area. Yet, how often have you heard about new or improved social research methods, results etc. lately?

Is it just me, or do others think we should also be communicating social science more effectively, too?

I would love to know your thoughts.


Vicki Martin
PhD Candidate
School of Environment, Science and Engineering
Southern Cross University
PO Box 157
Lismore NSW 2480

Phone: +612 6626 9356
Mobile: 0434 940 575

Email: vicki.martin at scu.edu.au<mailto:vicki.martin at scu.edu.au>
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