Inquiry Group White Papers

The inquiry group white papers were intended to strengthen and connect the informal STEM learning community by catalyzing conversations across the field around issues and topics of common concern.

Many Experts, Many Audiences: Public Engagement with Science (2009)
Is nanotechnology safe? How should we respond to the possibility of catastrophic global climate change? Faced with profound personal and societal questions like these, we need the best scientific knowledge available. This report been analyzes public engagement with science in informal media like television, museums, and science cafes.

Public Participation in Scientific Research (2009)
This white paper analyzed existing PPSR projects and programs, which vary in the extent to which the public is involved in different aspects of a scientific investigation—from data collection to defining a question for study. Such projects contribute to awareness and understanding of key scientific concepts and excel in building interest in scientific activities and developing science-related skills, the evidence suggests.

Inclusion, Disabilities, and Informal Science Learning (2010)
The white paper offers a theoretical framework for thinking about inclusion of people with disabilities in informal science education (ISE), then reviews current practice in museums (broadly defined), in media and technology, and in youth and community programs.

Informal Science Education Policy: Issues and Opportunities (2010)
This white paper describes, various policies, internal and external, written and implicit, which now encourage or constrain informal science education.

Making Science Matter: Collaborations Between Informal Science Education Organizations and Schools (2010)
This white paper examines what the authors call “the hybrid nature of formal-informal collaborations” and draws on relevant theoretical perspectives and a series of case studies to highlight ways in which the affordances of formal and informal settings can be combined and leveraged to create rich, compelling, authentic, and engaging science that can be systematically developed over time and settings.