Sharon Dunwoody

Evjue-Bascom Professor Emerita

School of Journalism and Mass Communications

Sharon Dunwoody has spent more than 30 years teaching science and environmental writing and studying how people use such information to inform their understanding of such complicated issues as climate change and other risks. She works with scientists, students and general audiences to help them develop storytelling skills in order to communicate complicated “stuff” as accurately as possible. She also explores messaging strategies for persuading folks to change their behaviors in the face of issues that are important but do not seem to affect them personally (think “climate change”).


  • An exploration of message strategies that could influence audiences who are unsure about or even skeptical of your message.

  • This focus on designing narratives explores the power of narrative and then asks participants to try to develop a narrative of their own

  • One fascinating strategy to prompt behavior change is to convince your audience that “others” care about the issue at hand. Social normative pressure can be effective.

  • Scientists have long had a love-hate relationship with the public. This talk explores the evolution of that linkage and describes science communication in the 21st century

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