Semi-structured interviews with observers/stakeholders (at science centre, science event and science city level)

We are interested in the views of our selected interviewees in their role as privileged observers or stakeholders in the process. In other words, what they think about the impact of SCIPs (science communication initiatives and policies) on the political sphere and the city itself. It is important to differentiate module from Module C1 which is focused on the analysis of the impact of such SCIPs on the interviewees themselves.


Decisions about who to contact and interview need to be based on local knowledge of each case. A minimum of 5 interviews is considered necessary for each case, though a greater number is recommended. All teams should justify their choice of interviewees, that is to say, explain why were these people chosen. As the aim is to assess impacts on a political institutional level, teams should preferably arrange interviews with stakeholders, as privileged observers for any given case study, from the following categories:

– Local or regional authorities and administration
– Local research institutions
– Local educational establishments, including schools and universities
– Local culture industry (museum, centers, events, etc.)
– Local industry or businesses
– Civil Society Organisations
– Media
– Other, please explain.


The following grid for semi-structured interviews should be interpreted as a guideline. At times the discussion will stray, and then this grid might give some very valuable insights and material for our study. However, it is imperative to at least impose the structure and logic of the grid on all interviews, as we should keep in mind that, in the end, we will want to compare the findings from the interviews conducted within any given case study with the findings from the other countries. That is quite a challenge for comparative qualitative research. All interviews should be carefully recorded. For further technical details on how to conduct semi-structured interviews, please refer to the Methodological Considerations Chapter (p.25).

« Dear “interesting observer X”, thank you so much for taking the time to participate in our research, your views and experiences are invaluable for this European Project.

Broadly speaking, we are interested in your views on four broad categories of impacts of [ELIMINAR INTRO] Science Communication Initiative and Policies in (name of city): Social and economic impacts, possible impacts on quality of life, impacts on policies and impacts on education. On the one hand, we are interested in your experience and judgements about what has happened in (name of city) until now. On the other hand, we are also very interested in knowing more about how you reckon things will develop in the future, for example from now until 2020.

We can begin our discussion by talking about the broad category of Social and Economic Impacts of SCIP in (name of city). We have a set of questions that are being asked across Europe, so shall we just start? »


I would like to ask you a few questions about the impact of SCIPs (Science Communication Initiatives and Policies) in (name of city).

1A) First of all, in your opinion, what would be the overall added value of a local “Culture of Science and Technology” or “Scientific Culture”?

- Will it be the same or will it be different in the future?

1B) What role has been played by local/regional authorities in the process of fostering a culture of science and technology in (name of city)?
- Do you think that will change in the future?

1C) How about Science Communication, Science Museums or Science Events?

1D) Can you think of an example where the public really had a voice in the final decision about science and technology related issues in (name of city)?

1E) Can you think of an example of new partnerships emerged between local institutions or businesses in the context of Science Communication activities in (name of city)?
- Any ideas about how that might evolve in the future?

1F) What would be, in your opinion, the most effective policies to put in place in (the relevant place) to foster culture of science and technology?

1G) Other, let interviewees tell you all they consider relevant.

Quality of life

Now let us turn to the issue of possible impacts of SCIPs (Science Communication Initiatives and Policies) on the quality of life in (name of city).

2A) What about public participation? What about engaging local residents in debates or discussion about science and technology related issues that are of relevance, for example regarding the environment, waste or energy? Would you say that this has been the case of SC activities in (the relevant place)?
- If relevant, what have been the outcomes of public participation exercises in (the relevant place)?
- Do you think that in the future we will see more, or perhaps less of public participation in (the relevant place)?

2B) In your opinion, have science communication activities had an impact on the media (local media, social networks, etc)? Do you think that the local media have become more sensitive to science and technology?
- In your opinion, will the media become more or less attentive or sensitive to these issues in the future?

2C) Do you think that science communication activities have had an impact on the cultural
identity of (the relevant place) in any way?

- Do you think that residents feel they belong to an innovative society?

-Do you think they now feel more part of a local tradition of science and technology?

- Do you think this will change in the future?

2D) Other, please let interviewees tell you about all other cultural impacts that they can think off.

Social and economic impacts

3A) What are some of the main economic impacts SCIPs at the local level? Have SCIPs brought in any new sources of income, (these might be grants or sponsorships, sale of books, posters, etc.) or perhaps money has been lost?
- If applicable, where did the new income come from?
- What do you think will happen in the future, for example between now and 2020?

3B) What financial support measures have been effective to further “Cultures of Science and Technology” in (the relevant places)?
- What do you think will be the most effective financial support measures in the future?

3C) Have Science Communication activities lead to any increase in local tourism?
- Do you think it will do so in the future?

3D) Have any new jobs been created through science communication activities in (the relevant

- Do you think these activities will create new jobs in the future?

3E) Have any new forms of public/private interaction come about through science communication activities and events? (for example, between public universities or schools and industry in the area)
- In your opinion, how will public/private interaction in this field evolve in the future?

3F) Have there been any new investments in infrastructure (for example, new buildings or services) in (the relevant place)?

- Do you think there will be new investments in infrastructure in the future?

3G) Other, please let interviewees tell you about all other possible social and economic impacts that they can think of.


Finally, I would like to ask you a few questions about the impact of Science in Society on education in (the relevant place).

4A) Have science in society activities in (the relevant place) lead to any new courses, for example, new university courses, life-long learning initiatives or something of that kind?
- Do you think that will happen in the future?

4B) Have scientific laboratories or technological companies opened their doors to the public?

- How did that go?

- Do you think this will change in the future?

4C) Has there been an increase in school visits, for example to festivals or science events to
compliment the curriculum?

- Do you think this will change in the future?

4D) Has any new educational material (DVD’s, shows, games or something of that kind) been produced through Science in Society or science communication activities in (the relevant places)?

4E) Other, again please let your interviewees tell you all they think is relevant.
Now we have covered most of the issues that I wanted to discuss with you. Do you think we have left any important topics out of our discussion today? (Please collect)

Finally, remember to thank interviewees for their time and underline again that by giving the interview they have made a very valuable contribution to a major European researcher project on Local Cultures of Science and Technology.