Science and technology (S&T) communicators often seek to involve individual members of the community in making decisions about the management of economic, environmental, and health risks and benefits. Such participation—through public meetings and a range of other forms discussed in this entry—can both improve the quality of decision making as well as make communities more accepting and satisfied with those decisions. Perhaps most important, many ideas about democracy also emphasize the need for citizens to have the opportunity to hear about decisions that affect them so that they can voice any concerns or provide support to decision makers. Done properly, public engagement can allow such two-way communication to occur. Public engagement may also enable citizens to hear from their fellow citizens. Three additional common phrases ...

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