Author Archives: ayelet

Your Chance of Finding Quality Scientific Information on Google Depends on the Language You Search In

We are often told that nowadays, all the world’s knowledge is available at our fingertips – just a quick Google search away. But what happens when users search for information in their own language? For example, when searching for a scientific term, do search engines provide English-, Hebrew- and Arabic-speaking students with the same level of access to quality scientific information? This question is addressed by a new study, conducted at the Technion and recently published in Public Understanding of Science.

The study found that search results for terms in English are of better quality than those provided for equivalent terms in Hebrew and Arabic. Additionally, most of the differences between the languages pertained to pedagogical aspects of quality, that is, the extent to which the content was geared towards young users, rather than the scientific aspects, such as the accuracy of the content. Some of the largest differences between the languages were found for terms related to nutrition and metabolism, such as “carbohydrate,” “protein,” “enzyme” and “metabolism.”

These findings are based on the top Google Search results presented to users in Israel for 30 basic scientific terms in three languages: Hebrew, Arabic and English. The terms pertained to three scientific domains: biology, chemistry, and physics. Each search result’s overall quality was determined using scientific criteria, such as content accuracy, the author’s authority, and the use of sources; pedagogical criteria, such as references to everyday life and the quality of audiovisual materials; and criteria specific to online content, such as recency and interactivity.

According to Kawther Zoubi, who conducted the study as part of her masters’ thesis at the Technion’s Faculty of Education in Science and Technology, “these findings help us understand the digital divide and the social factors that affect our ability to develop science literacy. Our understanding of science depends on the environment we live in and the extent to which we have access to quality scientific information. This depends on our proficiency in different languages.”

Prof. Ayelet Baram-Tsabari of the Technion’s Faculty of Education in Science and Technology, who oversaw the study, added: “The scientific and educational communities must act to mitigate the digital divide. We all have the right to access quality scientific information in our language.”

The study was conducted by Kawther Zoubi, Dr. Aviv Sharon, and Prof. Ayelet Baram-Tsabari of the Technion’s Faculty of Education in Science and Technology, along with independent scholar Dr. Eyal Nitzany.

The study is available under an Open Access license (CC BY-NC 4.0) from Public Understanding of Science, published by SAGE Journals.

Zoubi, K., Sharon, A. J., Nitzany, E., & Baram-Tsabari, A. (2021). Science, maddá and ‘ilm: The language divide in scientific information available to internet users. Public Understanding of Science. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1177/09636625211022975

Accompanying video: https://youtu.be/ZYTlIdUWxss

 

 

הופכות את היוצרות Turning the Tables

Keren and Mishloach manot

בפורים יצאנו מאפלה לאור גדול, ו”הופכות את היוצרות” מנסות לעשות את אותו הדבר עבור שורדות זנות.
בזכות קרן הפכנו שותפים למשלוחי מנות לנשים בהוסטלים ולילדיהן. מוזמנים להשתתף גם:

https://www.yotsrot.org/ for women exiting life in prostitution and sex trafficing

On Purim we came out of darkness into a great light, and “Yotsrot – Turning the Tables” try to do the same for survivors of prostitution.
Thanks to Keren, we have become partners in parcel deliveries for women in hostels and their children. You are also welcome to participate: https://www.yotsrot.org/

כאותר זועבי זכתה היום בפרס מאמר מצטיין של סטודנט/ית בכנס צ’ייס

Kawtar wins 2021

מאמרה של בוגרת הפקולטה כאותר זועבי זכה היום בפרס מאמר מצטיין של סטודנט/ית בכנס צ’ייס 2021. המאמר “סַיְיֵנְס, מַדָּע וְעִלְם: הבדלים באיכות המידע המדעי הזמין למשתמשי האינטרנט בשלוש שפות” נכתב על ידי כאותר זועבי , ד”ר אביב שרון , ד”ר אייל ניצני, ופרופ’-חבר אילת ברעם-צברי בהתבסס על עבודת המאסטר של כאותר. גאים בך כאותר!

קישור לתוכניית הכנס, קישור למאמר.

Our new paper: Expressions of science literacy in online public discussions of animal experimentation

This was the longest pregnancy I had for a paper (or a person for that matter). It was written, and revised, forgotten, and resurrected over the last decade with Dr. Esthi Laslo. The reason I have not dropped it is because I believe it is a strong and important research that carries an important message for science education. Finally – it’s here, and I’m happy to share it with you. I have 50 free copies, come and get yours:

https://www.tandfonline.com/eprint/47WNHGFWSUJSEZTKUG8U/full?target=10.1080/21548455.2020.1871103

Esther Laslo & Ayelet Baram-Tsabari (2021) Expressions of science literacy in online public discussions of animal experimentation, International Journal of Science Education, Part B, DOI: 10.1080/21548455.2020.1871103 

 

“Communicating Science: a global perspective” is published! 39 countries, 108 authors

The mega-book “Communicating Science: a global perspective” is published! 39 countries, 108 authors, including our own Israeli chapter: Developed Science, Developing Science Communication. Hope you’ll enjoy reading it, as much as we enjoyed writing it.

The PCST webinar launching the book: Communicating Science: a global perspective now available for your viewing pleasure: https://pcst.co/news/article/92. It was a great webinar – do watch.

AND – You can download the book for free from ANU Press: https://press.anu.edu.au/publications/communicating-science

 

 

Baram‑Tsabari, A., Orr, D., Baer, A., Garty, E., Golumbic, Y., Halevy, M., Krein, E., Levi, A., Leviatan, N., Lipman, N. and Mir, R., 2020. Developed Science, developing Science CommunicationCommunicating Science: A Global Perspective, p.443.

Jargon in science communication research and practice

Our new invited research note is open access on Public Understanding of Science:

Jargon use in Public Understanding of Science papers over three decades

For a lighter read see our blog post:  Jargon in science communication research and practice

The bottom line:  Writing science in a comprehensive manner is not an easy task. Excessive use of jargon is a challenge even when addressing an audience of professionals, not to mention other audiences. The identification of appropriate vs. unsuitable jargon for specific purposes and audiences is a crucial task, and tools that can help writers are always good news. 

But shouldn’t we be doing more, to increase, at least, the flow of findings, needs, and experience between science communication researchers and practitioners? Adding a Practical Perspective Abstract to accompany each research article published in PUS could be a beginning, creating a shared space for exchanging ideas. Such abstracts, adapted from the primary literature to make them more useful and accessible to the diverse audiences of the journal, could be elaborated upon here, in the PUS blog, much like this post is trying to do.