Category:General Communication

Jump to: navigation, search

The essence of field epidemiology extends beyond the fundamental investigation of the distribution and determinants of health-related states or events. It encompasses the communication of science and health-related information to different audiences. This chapter delves into two specific aspects of communication crucial in disease prevention and control: science communication and health communication[1].

Science Communication

Science communication is a multifaceted field that involves sharing and promoting science-related topics to various audiences, ranging from non-experts to fellow scientists. This activity is instrumental in disseminating scientific knowledge and promoting understanding of complex scientific concepts, methodologies, and results.

Public Communication of Science

The public communication of science involves presenting science-related topics to non-experts. This includes the critical task of writing study protocols for stakeholders, such as public health officials, policymakers, or community leaders. Such communication must be clear, accessible, and relevant to facilitate effective decision-making and encourage support for research initiatives. By making complex scientific concepts accessible and relevant to non-experts, public communication of science can also promote public engagement with science and engender support for scientific research.

One of the key challenges in public science communication is translating complex scientific concepts and methodologies into language that non-experts can understand. This often involves simplifying technical jargon without losing the essence of the scientific information. It requires a deep understanding of both the science and the audience's knowledge, beliefs, and attitudes towards science.

Writing study protocols for stakeholders is critical to public science communication in field epidemiology. These protocols outline a research study's objectives, design, methodology, statistical considerations, and organization. Stakeholders need to understand these protocols to make informed decisions about the implementation and support of the research. Hence, the language used in these protocols should be clear, concise, and free of unnecessary technical jargon.

Effective public science communication is not just about transmitting information; it's also about engaging the public in science. This could involve public consultations on science policy issues, citizen science projects, or public debates on ethical issues in science. Engaging the public in science can increase trust in science and scientists, promote informed decision-making, and encourage public support for science.

Communication between Scientists

Communication between scientists is a fundamental aspect of scientific progress. It is crucial for sharing research findings, gaining feedback, and fostering collaborations. The ability to effectively communicate research to peers within and across disciplines is a key skill in field epidemiology. This communication often occurs through various channels, such as oral presentations at conferences or written publications in scientific journals. It is instrumental in advancing scientific understanding and fostering collaborations.

Oral Presentations at Conferences
Conferences provide a platform for scientists to share their research, gain peer feedback, and foster collaborative relationships. Effective oral presentations are crucial to communicating research findings, methodologies, and implications clearly. They require a balance of technical detail to accurately represent the science and clarity to ensure comprehension by a diverse audience.
Publications in Scientific Journals
Scientific journals serve as a primary conduit for disseminating scientific research. Writing for these publications requires high precision and adherence to specific formatting and style guidelines. The peer-review process ensures that the research is sound, the methodologies are appropriate, and the data support the conclusions.
Interdisciplinary Communication
In the diverse field of epidemiology, scientists often need to communicate their research to experts from various disciplines. This interdisciplinary communication requires careful consideration of language and context to ensure that the research is understood and its implications are appreciated across different fields.
Collaborative Efforts in Science
Communication between scientists also plays a vital role in fostering collaborations. Shared knowledge and expertise can lead to interdisciplinary research efforts, pooling resources, and combining methodologies to tackle complex public health challenges.
Role of Digital Platforms
With the advent of digital platforms, communication between scientists is no longer confined to traditional channels. Online repositories, webinars, and professional social media platforms are increasingly being used to share research findings, discuss ideas, and facilitate collaborations.

Communication of Science by Non-Scientists

Non-scientists play a crucial role in the science communication landscape, discussing and disseminating science-related topics within their networks and communities. Their understanding and interpretation of scientific knowledge can impact public opinion, policy decisions, and society's general perception of science. They serve as conduits of scientific information within their social, professional, or political circles, often translating complex scientific jargon into more accessible language. This process of science interpretation and dissemination can influence a wider audience's knowledge, attitudes, and behaviours, thereby playing an integral part in public engagement with science.

The involvement of non-scientists in science communication presents both challenges and opportunities. On the one hand, there is a risk of misinformation or misunderstanding of scientific concepts, given the potential gaps in scientific literacy. On the other hand, non-scientists can provide unique insights and perspectives, bridging the gap between the scientific community and the general public. Their participation in science communication can facilitate the democratization of science, fostering a more inclusive and informed society.

Effective science communication by non-scientists requires a comprehensive understanding of the target audience's knowledge level, interests, and potential biases. Effective communication strategies can include using simple language, metaphors, and narratives to explain complex concepts. Moreover, dialogue-based approaches, where the audience's questions and concerns are addressed, can also facilitate understanding and engagement.

The influence of social media on science communication by non-scientists is a double-edged sword. While platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube democratize access to scientific information, potentially fostering a more scientifically literate society, the speed and reach of social media also pose significant challenges. Misinformation can spread rapidly, with potential consequences for public health and policy. This risk of misinformation emphasizes the need for non-scientists to communicate scientific information accurately and responsibly.

Science Exhibitions, Journalism, Policy, and Media Production

Science exhibitions, journalism, policy writing, and media production are other avenues of science communication. These platforms engage broader audiences, often aiming to generate support for scientific research, inform decision-making, or provoke political and ethical thinking.

Health Communication

Health communication is the study and practice of sharing health-related information to influence personal health choices and improve health literacy. It involves the strategic dissemination of health information through various channels.

Public Health Campaigns

Public health campaigns are a prevalent form of health communication. These campaigns disseminate promotional health information to educate the public about diseases, health risks, and preventive measures.

Health Education

Health education is another vital aspect of health communication. It aims to equip individuals with the knowledge and skills necessary to make informed decisions about their health. This might involve teaching about nutrition, exercise, disease prevention, or management of chronic conditions.

Doctor-Patient Communication

Effective communication between doctors and patients is paramount in health care. Doctors must convey complex medical information in a way that patients can understand and use to make informed decisions about their health. This two-way communication involves not only imparting medical information but also listening to and understanding the patient's experiences and concerns.


In field epidemiology, effective science and health communication are indispensable for disease prevention and control. They ensure the accurate and efficient dissemination of information, fostering an informed society capable of making health-conscious decisions. The success of these communication efforts is underpinned by the ability to tailor messages to the audience's understanding and needs, ultimately promoting health literacy and contributing to the overall improvement of public health.

Further reading

  • Fischhoff B, Davis AL. Communicating scientific uncertainty. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2014;111(Suppl 4):13664-13671.
  • Bucchi M, Trench B. Handbook of Public Communication of Science and Technology. London: Routledge; 2008.
  • Burns TW, O'Connor DJ, Stocklmayer SM. Science Communication: A Contemporary Definition. Public Understanding of Science. 2003;12(2):183-202.
  • Smith RA, Downs E, Witte K. Drama theory and entertainment education: Exploring the effects of a radio drama on behavioral intentions to limit HIV transmission in Ethiopia. Communication Monographs. 2007;74(2):133-153.
  • Schiavo R. Health Communication: From Theory to Practice. 2nd ed. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass; 2013.
  • Zarcadoolas C, Pleasant A, Greer DS. Understanding health literacy: an expanded model. Health Promot Int. 2005;20(2):195-203.
  • Street RL Jr, Makoul G, Arora NK, Epstein RM. How does communication heal? Pathways linking clinician-patient communication to health outcomes. Patient Educ Couns. 2009;74(3):295-301.


  1. This text was originally written by ChatGPT4.0, reviewed and edited by Arnold Bosman.


This category has the following 2 subcategories, out of 2 total.



Pages in category "General Communication"

This category contains only the following page.