International science centres impact study

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Research to assess science centres own local impact in a way that would enable comparisons to be drawn between countries and cultures

The Centre for Life joined 16 other science centres around the world to conduct the first international impact study for this type of institution. Working with the leading expert in Informal Learning research, John Falk of Oregon State University, the centres developed an instrument to assess their own local impact in a way that would enable comparisons to be drawn between countries and cultures. Each centre was responsible for data collection and initial processing, with full analysis by the team in Oregon.

Public Knowledge was commissioned by the Centre for Life to collect data as part of this study. Our face-to-face interviewers used the latest tablet technology to interview 400 members of the public living within the Tyne & Wear area with quotas enforced on age, gender and local authority ward to ensure a representative sample. In addition, our researchers collected data from 400 14-15 year olds within the classrooms of 11 different schools. This aspect of the research involved liaising with school contacts to arrange sessions, engaging and educating the children on how to answer different formats of question and administering the paper-based survey. All completed paper-based questionnaires were returned to the Centre for Life for input, in addition to an excel file produced in accordance with the client’s specifications comprising all of the data collected via tablets.