International Science Center Impact Study

The EXPAND program will be connected to the International Science Centre Impact Study (ISCIS) initiated by ASTC and ECSITE. The ISCIS 2012 – 2013 study is led by John Falk, Lynn Dierking and Mark Needham, and will analyse the impact of science centres by determining the relative contributions that specific independent variables related to actual science centre experiences may have on a range of desirable long-term dependent variables of science understanding, attitudes, and behaviours (International Impact Research Proposal). The focus on measuring the impact of science centers on science engagement is based on a broader framework including four categories of impact: changed attitudes to science, social nature of the experience, career-related decisions, increased professional expertise in science centres and schools, and personal enjoyment. The survey is based on quantitative methods, and involves variables rooted in the assumption that public experiences at science centres improve knowledge and understanding of science, and increase interest in and engagement with science. It is based on self- reports of learning, and has the goal of capturing visitors’ articulations of the full extent, breadth, and depth of their knowledge and understanding of science resulting from experiences in science centres. Expand has conducted the survey in collaboration with 9 science centers in Norway autumn 2013, and will publish first results from this in march 2014.