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Physicists and Outreach: Implications of schools physics outreach programmes from the perspective of the participating physicists

Thorley, C; (2016) Physicists and Outreach: Implications of schools physics outreach programmes from the perspective of the participating physicists. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

This thesis examines physics outreach activities from the perspective of the participating physicists. It explores the nuances of physics outreach to school audiences in the context of wider outreach and public engagement agendas for higher education. The study employs mixed methods, comprising an electronic survey and case studies. The case studies follow audiences through nine physics outreach activities that are observed, complemented by semi-structured interviews with the physicists that took part in the activity after the event. Physicists’ perceptions and understandings of their audience, and the ways in which the audience are recruited, are shown to be crucial factors in delivering successful outreach activities. Parameters for successful outreach from this perspective are determined, and recommendations made for how such indicators might be developed further by outreach programme managers and influencers such as the Institute of Physics. Obtaining the data needed for this study was only made possible through links to the growing networks of outreach professionals in this field, and the positive impact of such roles was made clear by the participating physicists. The findings of this study will be used to influence physics schools outreach practice, and have relevance to other subjects and audiences.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Physicists and Outreach: Implications of schools physics outreach programmes from the perspective of the participating physicists
Event: UCL Institute of Education
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Keywords: outreach, physics, informal science education, public engagement, informal education, STEM, physicist
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Curriculum, Pedagogy and Assessment
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Social Research Institute
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1503745
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