4th UF Water Institute Symposium Abstract

Submitter's Name Katie Stofer
Session Name Poster Session: Science, stakeholders and decision-making
Poster Number 28
Author(s) Kathryn Stofer,  University of Florida (Presenting Author)
  Visualizing Data for Stakeholders From Varying Backgrounds
  Working with complex issues requires involving stakeholder groups with varying levels of formal scientific expertise. Communication among those groups has come a long way from the early days of these processes, when materials were shared without considering and accommodating each others’ strengths and weaknesses. The science of refining word choice and explanations without dumbing down content is reflected in high levels of trust in science. However, where text materials have been revised and translated for broad meaning-making, scientific visuals that convey data are often still left unchanged from their original uses with highly-knowledgeable audiences. Research in science communication and education has offered ways for us to apply similar strategies to revising data visualizations for broad meaning-making. Interviews with professional researchers and undergraduates trying to make meaning from global satellite oceanography data give insight into what scientific experts have internalized after years of training with visualizations as well as what knowledge and cultural background people with little formal science training bring to the table. An experimental design with several versions of each visualization reveal what interventions help to communicate among these groups without leaving anyone behind or talking down to them, either. This presentation will discuss the research and offer practical strategies for revising many types of scientific visuals by including geographic labels for orientation, providing baselines for comparison, and strategically choosing colors to match cultural expectations.