Co-creation of Knowledge in Technology-Enhanced Communities of Learning

Sophie Shauli

  • Research Group: 
    Ass. Prof. Ayelet Baram-Tsabari
    Academic Institute: 
    Technion - Israel Institute of Technology
    Line phone: 
    04 - 9830921

    Mrs. Sophie Shauli

    How does scientific knowledge affect the daily lives of non-scientists? Does the saying "knowledge is power" hold true for scientific knowledge as well?

          These questions are investigated in the context of parents of hearing- impaired children. The hearing impaired child's potential of developing efficient ways of communication and academic achievement largely depends on parental dedication to realizing the child’s potential. My hypothesis is that in order to achieve this, parents need to learn and understand vast amounts of scientific, medical, technological and audiological (hearing and hearing rehabilitation) knowledge. This knowledge has been acquired immediately after the diagnosis despite the emotional strain. The main aim of this study is to characterize the role played by scientific knowledge in the lives of non-scientists faced with science- related decisions, and more specifically the case of parents of hearing- impaired children. It also aims to examine the relationship between the constructs of science literacy, health literacy and public engagement with science, and ways to measure them.

                    Research on public engagement with science over the last twenty years has been governed by two competing research approaches. One approach, building on the deficit model of science communication, assesses scientific knowledge among the general public using quantitative tools such as standard survey questionnaires. The second approach, building on dialogic model, employs qualitative tools such as interviews, to examine understanding of scientific knowledge as it is required in daily life. In my study I will use and compare results from tools based on these two approaches. Combining these two approaches should make a contribution to the literature, since few studies, if any; have examined the same research question and population using the two different research approaches.

                    The research questions guiding this doctoral project are:

    1. What are the sources of health-related information for parents of hearing impaired children? How often they are used and how well do they meet parents' needs?
    2. What scientific knowledge in the field of hearing do parents of hearing impaired children have?
    3. In what ways does science emerge in parents’ concerns and resources as they attempt to understand and advocate for their hearing- impaired child?
    4. What evidence is there for the parents’ scientific literacy (science education), functional health literacy (public health) and public engagement with science (science communication) and what are the relationships between these notions as measured using standardized and contextualized measures? 


    The research population will consist of parents of hearing impaired children aged six months to fifteen years who are in the process of hearing rehabilitation in one of the national organizations: "Shema", "Micha" and the Association of AV Israel. A sample of about 200 families will fill out on line questionnaires, and 30 families will take part in semi-structured interviews. These research tools were developed and validated during the pilot study involving 16 parents and professionals from the field of audiology and science communication. Non-intrusive research methods will include evidence for parental advocating and its outcomes.