Science Center Public Forums Summative Evaluation Report

June 1st, 2019 | EVALUATION

The purpose of the Science Center Public Forums project was to engage citizens with NOAA data about climate-related hazards, resilience strategies, and related policies. Forum modules about four climate-related hazards were created, and used as a part of forum programs at eight museums around the US. Evaluation findings are structured around three themes: 1) learning, 2) interest, engagement, and attitudes, and 3) educator outcomes. Data showed high levels of prior knowledge about environmental hazards and interactions between human and natural systems; resilience efforts; and the ways science and research evolve and change over time. Even so, respondents reported statistically significant learning increases with large effect sizes about each of these topics after the forum.

The second theme was about participants’ engagement and interest. During the forum, participants used project materials to consider data, hear others’ views, share their own views, and engage in joint decision-making. Respondents came in with high interest, but reported becoming significantly more interested in research on climate hazards, societal issues, and ways hazards affect their community. Participants were especially interested in and supportive of local resilience efforts.

Third, evaluators assessed the learning, interest, and confidence of educators who participated in a workshop that trained them about how to use the materials. The sample size was small, but data suggest that the workshop supported increased knowledge about how to use the forums, interest in using the forums after the webinar, and growth in confidence for using the forum materials.

Appendix includes instruments.



Team Members

Katie Todd, Author, Museum of Science, Boston
Elizabeth Kollmann, Author, Museum of Science, Boston
Megan Gregory, Author, Museum of Science, Boston
Owen Weitzman, Author, Museum of Science, Boston
Maria Barth, Author, Museum of Science, Boston
Sarah Pfeifle, Author, Museum of Science, Boston


Funding Source: NOAA
Funding Program: 2015: ELG for Community Resilience to Extreme Weather Events and Environmental Changes
Award Number: NA15SEC008005

Related URLs

Science Center Public Forums: Community Engagement for Environmental Literacy, Improved Resilience, and Decision-Making


Audience: Evaluators | General Public | Museum | ISE Professionals | Scientists
Discipline: Climate | Geoscience and geography
Resource Type: Coding Schema | Evaluation Reports | Research and Evaluation Instruments | Summative | Survey
Environment Type: Museum and Science Center Programs | Public Programs