Understanding Animal Research – Google Hangout

UARBefore our most recent June 2014 I’m a Scientist event we partnered with Understanding Animal Research to run a Google Hangout for scientists who work with animals.

Students often ask the scientists for their views on animal testing, and we want to help give scientists the confidence to be open and talk about working with animals in their research.

John Meredith, Education Manager at UAR, ran this session with six scientists who were taking part in I’m a Scientist the following week:

The A word: how to talk about animals in medical research 
This informal webinar presented by Understanding Animal Research will look at how and why we should talk about animals in medical research. It will cover current public attitudes to animal research, the facts and figures, the value of openness and how to answer the tricky questions or deal with confrontation. There will be plenty of time for questions and discussion during and after the presentation, which should last around an hour.

We asked the scientists to fill in a short survey after they’d taken part in I’m a Scientist, to assess whether the Hangout was useful, and whether we should offer it before every event.

Five scientists gave very positive feedback. In summary they found the Hangout useful and informative, but often didn’t use the training in I’m a Scientist as students didn’t ask about animal research, and the scientists didn’t want to bring it up. If we run it again we could make it more interactive, giving the scientists more practice in answering potentially difficult questions during the session.

Was the Google Hangout good?

  • All 5 scientists said yes

Did you use the training during the event?

  • 3 said no, because it didn’t come up, and they didn’t want to mention it unless they had to
  • 1 said yes, finding themselves using the training many times during the event
  • 1 said a little, but they didn’t get many questions on it

Did it make you more confident to talk about animal research?

  • All 5 scientists said yes
  • 1 of the scientists mentioned they were wary of talking about animal research in the live chats, in case time ran out and they couldn’t explain their work properly

Would you recommend it to others?

  • All 5 scientists said yes

How would you improve it?

  • Open the session up and ask for individuals input more
  • Links to resources that show that animal experimentation is not ‘animal cruelty’
  • Have more scientists who use animals in their work, to encourage more open discussion among peers

And a few other comments:

“Very helpful and answered a lot of the questions I had about discussing animal research with the public”

“I have contacted UAR and organised a school visit of my own!”

Posted on August 6, 2014 Moderator - Rosie in Evaluation, IAS Event, News | Leave a comment

Agriculture Zone Report – June 2014

AgricultureThe Agriculture Zone winner, Jennifer Stephens, stands out as really engaging with the students. She gave nearly half of the answers in the zone, and two thirds of all the live chat from the scientists. The students were particularly interested in genetically modified organisms (GMO), particularly whether it’s safe to eat genetically modified plants.

 

Download the complete report here.

 

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Animal Behaviour Zone Report – June 2014

animalThe students in the Animal Behaviour Zone asked a lot of factual questions about animals, and the topic of animal testing was also brought up on several occasions. The scientists in this zone were all very engaged (they shared answering questions nearly evenly between all 5 of them) and were particularly good at answering questions as soon as they were approved. Interestingly, the focus of this zone was more in the CHAT section rather than in ASK, whereas previous Animal Behaviour Zones attracted many more ASK questions from students.

Download complete report here.

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Astronomy Zone Report – June 2014

astroThe Astronomy Zone was very popular among teachers, and it was the first zone to be fully booked. Students’ questions were really focused and on-topic, as well as very specific and consistent, probably due to students being familiar with the term “astronomy”.  This was the zone with the highest activity in the CHAT section, with 18 live chats and over 7,700 lines of live chat. All the scientists in the zone were really engaged, sharing the load of questions answering and chatting in the ASK and CHAT sections between all 5 of them, as well as lots of discussion on Twitter. Zone winner Roberto decided to donate his prize money to the runner-up Sam, as he already has enough outreach funds to run his own public engagement projects.

Download the complete report here.

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Barium Zone Report – June 2014

bariumThe Barium Zone was a primary school zone. This zone had few registered students, and lower student activity than average. After visiting certain primary schools during the event, we have seen how the dynamics of the event change slightly from what we have observed in secondary schools. This might partially explain the lower activity registered in some of the primary school zones, as some teachers would register students in groups rather than individually, or run the whole activity with just their teacher account. The Barium Zone winner, Ekbal, stands out as really engaging with the students, contributing over half of all the live chat activity from the scientists

Download the complete report here.

Posted on July 16, 2014 modangela in 2014, Zone Reports | Leave a comment

Bioinformatics Zone Report – June 2014

bioinfoThe Bioinformatics Zone was lively, with over 800 questions asked and busy live chats, even though only 5 schools registered students in the zone. All the scientists were good at answering ASK questions quickly, and Sergey, Claire, and Ian were particularly good at live chats, covering most of them. The students in this zone seemed to understand the scientists’ research better than in previous Big Data themed zones, and asked each scientist about them: they asked Sergey about programming, Ian about how genes work in the brain and Claire about genetic mutations.

Download the complete report here.

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Diamond Zone Report – June 2014

diamondThe Diamond Zone was funded by the Science and Technologies Facilities Council and featured scientists working at Diamond Light Source, using it for their research or using data collected at Diamond. This zone was extremely busy with the largest number of students registered during this event: 524 students, of whom 82% asked questions, took part in a chat, commented, or voted for a scientist. The chats were always buzzing with a broad range of questions, reflecting the different work of the scientists. The ASK section was also very busy, but scientists kept up with the questions at all times, giving over 1,000 answers between them! Students in the zone were really keen to know more about the scientists’ work, as shown by the questions’ keywords below.

Download the complete report here.

Posted on July 16, 2014 modangela in 2014, Zone Reports | Leave a comment

Drug Development Zone Report – June 2014

drug devThe Drug Development Zone had a low number of registered students, given that only 3 schools out of the 8 schools given classes in the zone bought their students online. Nevertheless, the percentage of active students was higher than average 87% of students asked a question, chatted, commented or voted for their favourite scientist. This kept the zone lively with high quality on-topic questions.

Download the complete report here.

 

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Extreme Energy Zone Report – June 2014

extreme9 schools registered students in the Extreme Energy Zone, which lead to lively CHAT sessions, particularly during the first week of the event.  There was a good balance of questions about space, the beginning of the universe, Physics theories and the day to day life and work of a scientist. The scientists in this zone were all very engaged, giving a high average of 2.5 answers per question.

 

Download complete report here.

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Genomics Zone Report – June 2014

genomicsThe Genomics Zone had the highest percentage of active students, which made a lively zone in spite of having only 3 schools taking part. 93% of the students registered asked or commented on a question, chatted with the scientists or voted for their favourite one. All the scientists in the zone were engaged with the event, answered student questions and chatted with them. There was a huge focus on DNA and genes during the live chats, and a number of very interesting science based questions were asked, particularly during the first week.

Download the complete report here.

Posted on July 16, 2014 modangela in 2014, Zone Reports | Leave a comment