Testing the impact of culturally-relevant communication style on engagement with Hispanic and Latinx adults

Effective science communication for a multilingual population requires more than language translation, it also requires being mindful of cultural communication styles. This study tested the impact that communication style has on feelings of inclusion, learning, and engagement in the Earth sciences for Hispanic and Latinx adults. An online survey with open and closed questions was used to evaluate two science videos (in both Spanish and English) with different communication styles: 1) a traditional, interview-based style, where experts present a science concept, and 2) an informal conversational style, where a scientific message is shared through a casual conversation. Seventy-four participants self-identified as Hispanic and Latinx and were the focus of the data analysis. Both video styles were positively received, with participant feedback emphasizing feelings of inclusion in seeing Latina scientists, easy to understand science concepts, and accessible language. Hispanic and Latinx adults preferred the traditional video, but the conversational video ranked higher in other aspects, which varied based on participants’ primary spoken language at home. For example, the conversational video had a positive impact on the ability to relate information to their own life and increase awareness of Earth science careers for Spanish-language speakers. Findings suggest the use of both video styles could improve feelings of inclusion and engagement for Hispanic and Latinx adults. Additional aspects of culture and demographics may explain some of the language-based results. Future science videos are encouraged to be co-designed by, for, and with Hispanic and Latinx communities to emphasize cultural values while avoiding stereotyping and cultural appropriation.

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Citation: Morales, A., L. Medina Luna, D.W. Zietlow, J.E. LeBeau, and M.J. Molina (2022), Testing the impact of culturally-relevant communication style on engagement with Hispanic and Latinx adults, Journal of Geoscience Education, doi: 10.1080/10899995.2022.2120701.