The Science outreach project (SOP) has built a substantial evidence-based outreach program that communicates CRC research to different target groups and that strategically involves CRC researchers. A first communication goal is to make CRC research visible to public and stakeholder audiences. The SOP designed a broad range of interactive and multimedia exhibits and regularly showcases them at public events. A second communication goal is to foster interests and career perspectives in science and engineering in future generations. We successfully transformed CRC research into different learning modules, in-school as well as out-of- school, simultaneously investigating students’ interest and understanding of science and engineering. A third strategic goal is to support impactful science communication in the CRC. An accompanying science communication training for IRTG members enhances the quality of outreach and ensures the active involvement of CRC researchers from all projects.
How we design outreach measures
For the design of our outreach measures, we systematically combine a content analysis with a target group analysis. In the content analysis, we analyze what we want to communicate. In this process, the CRC scientists’ perspectives are especially important. Together, we reflect on communication goals and make sure that outreach content is accurate and authentic.
In the target group analysis, we review the literature and collect data on what is interesting and relevant for our target groups. For our school projects, for example, we have focus group discussions with teachers and students.
How we test our outreach measures
Our design approach already includes various steps of quality control as well as monitoring elements. We collect data regarding relevance, accuracy, consistency, and practicability by using different evaluation methods like ratings, questionnaires, group discussions, and qualitative observations. When our measures are in a final state, we can test their efficacy and impact with larger sample sizes.