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Newcastle University

University Library

Subject support guide

Your subject-specific guide to using library resources.

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Science Communication

Support for communicating your research to a range of audiences, and identifying communication routes currently used by researchers at Newcastle University

Models of Science Communication

There are many different models for communicating science, perhaps as many as there are science communicators. These are the most popular ones in use today, and discussed widely in the academic literature.

Deficit Model

Any non-interactive medium that communicates science for one or multiple audiences, which is accessible to wider publics.


  • Science article in newspaper or online
  • BBC Documentary e.g. Blue Planet
  • Radio programme
  • Podcast
  • Public lecture

Dialogue Model (Public Engagement)

Activities or events that facilitate and encourage dialogue between scientists and non-scientists, including basic questions about science, what scientists do etc.


  • Café Scientifique
  • Raspberry Pi workshop to monitor water quality
  • Interactive museum exhibition
  • Social media conversation
  • Science interactive theatre

Participation Model (Citizen Science)

Any activity or project that involves participation of non-scientists in science and helps to generate scientific knowledge. This is also known as ‘upstream public engagement’, involving publics directly in scientific processes similar to scientists themselves.


  • Public river or water catchment surveys using social media, historical data and technical methods for real-time monitoring. National Green Infrastructure Facility.
  • Identifying animal or plant species and uploading them as data for further analysis by professional scientists. Capture our Coast.
  • Using mobile sensors to monitor air quality within local communities, an example of research where the scientific question or premise driven by community interest. Sense my Street.