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Evaluating the short-term and long-term impact of an interactive science show

Sadler, Wendy J. 2021. Evaluating the short-term and long-term impact of an interactive science show. Research for All 5 (2) , 399–419. 10.14324/RFA.05.2.14

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Science shows as a medium for communicating science are used widely across the UK, yet there is little literature about the long-term impact they may have. This longitudinal study looks at the short-term and long-term impact of the science show Music to Your Ears, which was initially performed throughout the UK on behalf of the Institute of Physics in 2002, and which has since been offered at schools and events through the enterprise Science Made Simple. The impact was measured using the immediate reaction to the show, the number (and type) of demonstrations (demos) recalled over the long term, and the applied use of any memories from the show. Quantitative and qualitative data were gathered using questionnaires immediately after the show and focus groups held two and a half years later. To enrich the data, and minimize bias, interviews with professional science presenters were also included in the data analysis. Data from the questionnaires were used to develop a framework of five demonstration categories to describe their essence, or main purpose. The categories used in this study were: curiosity (C), human (H), analogy (A), mechanics (M) and phenomena (P). It was found that even after two and a half years, almost 25 per cent of demos from the show could be recalled without prompting. When prompted with verbal and visual clues, over 50 per cent of the demos from the show could be recalled by the group tested. In addition, around 9 per cent of the demos were recalled and related to an alternative context to the show, suggesting that some cognitive processing may have happened with the most memorable elements of the show. The ‘curiosity’ type of demo was found to be the most memorable in both the short term and long term.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Physics and Astronomy
Additional Information: This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Licence (CC BY) 4.0
Publisher: UCL Press
ISSN: 2399-8121
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 22 December 2021
Date of Acceptance: 28 February 2021
Last Modified: 02 May 2023 15:07

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