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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton 2020

24. Forms of science presentations in public settings

Philipp Niemann, Laura Bittner, Christiane Hauser and Philipp Schrögel


Research and science are presented to a lay public in various forms nowadays. These presentations are understood as forms of lecture where the presenter not only uses the spoken language but also other communicative modes such as images, videos, sounds, or gestures and facial expressions. These forms of presentation can be differentiated in terms of their degree of multimodality, interactivity, performance, and event and entertainment orientation. The article applies this typology to three especially popular forms of external science communication: booth presentations, Science Slams and “presentation of research” videos. Results show that booth presentations can be regarded as highly multimodal, and in most cases, also very interactive. Performative components are rather negligible here, and entertainment is also not the focus. In Science Slams, by contrast, usually all four parts of the typology are quite pronounced, the strongest of which is the event and entertainment orientation. “Presentation of research” videos have a high degree of multimodality, and have considerable performative potential, too. As the degree of multimodality increases, so does the interaction of the presenter with elements within the video. However, interaction between presenter and viewer, or between viewer and video, play no relevant role. There is also no orientation towards an event or entertainment.

© 2019 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Munich/Boston