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Science Literacy

  • By: Arthur Dubowicz & Peter J. Schulz
  • In: Encyclopedia of Health Communication
  • Edited by: Teresa L. Thompson
  • Subject:Public Health Education & Health Promotion, Health Psychology, Health Communication

Science literacy is often described conceptually as a skill that allows the general public to understand science, the underlying theories, the research process, and the research outcomes. This concept also includes written, numerical, and digital literacy, as they pertain to understanding science. Since World War II, scientists and other involved stakeholders such as politicians, educators, or journalists have increased activities to foster the public understanding of science. Some broader attempts focused more on improving the education level by adapting national curricula, while others were more problem-specific. In the field of health communication such efforts can be found in improving patients' medical regime adherence or in compliance with health guidelines and recommendations.

The term science literacy became commonly used in the 1950s by educational scientists such as ...

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