Natural Resources, School of


First Advisor

Mark Burbach

Date of this Version


Document Type



Briggs, A. (2020). Using the elaboration likelihood model as a method to teach science communication.


A THESIS Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Master of Science, Major: Natural Resource Sciences, Under the Supervision of Professor Mark E. Burbach. Lincoln, Nebraska: May, 2020

Copyright 2020 Ann S. Briggs


For most scientists, researchers, and resource professionals, the act of communicating their science is not the focus of their training or practice. While the importance of sharing information with the general public is widely accepted, many professionals have not been taught how to communicate with the public. They rely on trial and error and other methods that often lead to misunderstanding and miscommunication. Science communication is a necessary step to keep society engaged and informed about science and the scientific process, and a lack of science communication to the public leads to misinformation, and ultimately a lack of trust in scientists. This study proposes the use of the Elaboration Likelihood Model (ELM) as a method to teach science communication. A training session was created based on the ELM and presented to the Nebraska Water Leaders Academy. Messages communicating science were collected at this training session and analyzed to determine if the ELM is an effective model to improve science communication. This study found that science communication is best analyzed on a person-by-person basis. While the ELM is helpful in teaching science communication, many other factors including previous knowledge and training may influence the results.

Advisor: Mark E. Burbach