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Title: The communication and public understanding of academic research relating to the environmental and health impacts of electrical vehicles
Author: Esmene, Shukru
ISNI:       0000 0004 5989 5961
Awarding Body: Exeter and Plymouth Peninsula Medical School
Current Institution: Exeter and Plymouth Peninsula Medical School
Date of Award: 2015
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Electric vehicle (EV) research has gained increasing prominence over the last decade as EVs have become the only alternative means of personal transportation available for public purchase and use compared to conventional petrol/diesel road vehicles. Enhancing public understanding of alternative technologies is particularly important in the case of EVs; an innovative technology with climate change mitigation potential. Thus far, research on communication has focused on the influences on scientific knowledge uptake of diverse public characteristics. This research has been dominated by consumer perspectives within urban contexts. This study therefore explores EV knowledge mobilisation from academia, via key communication intermediaries (media, industry, non-governmental organisations, policy-makers) to publics in a peri-urban setting; characterised as a rural landscape with pockets of urbanisation. Cornwall, UK provides the geographical case of such a landscape. Academic knowledges pertaining to the environmental and human health impacts of EVs were critically examined using qualitative content analysis, with the same analysis method used to gain insights into how these knowledges have been portrayed by the communication intermediaries above. The active roles of academics in the communication process, and diverse publics as knowledge assimilators, were also explored through semi-structured interviews (academics) and focus groups (publics within Cornwall). The findings highlight a disparity between academic research and the knowledges entering the public domain. Although sophisticated communication techniques have been developed to enhance public awareness of climate change science, these seem to be missing from EV communications. The key findings of this study highlight the need for meticulously planned communications, with audiences profiled in detail and communication structured reflexively. This study therefore develops and illustrates the relevance to EV knowledge mobilisation of existing theories and practices, including participatory geographies, citizen science and systems network thinking. It highlights opportunities to achieve a shift towards a participatory network of EV knowledge mobilisation within specific contexts in order to improve public understanding of these knowledges. Interestingly, the history of science literature can provide 'a suite of lost communication methods that have previously been successful. Furthermore, the need to catalyse a generational shift, whereby science engagement becomes more prevalent amongst publics through reflexive engagement and education, is also examined.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available