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Improving Risk Communication in Government: Research Priorities

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Despite the increased interest in risk communication among government agencies, there is evidence that agencies’risk communication practices lag. We conducted a study to explore which risk communication research would be most important to improve government agencies’risk communication practices. Qualitative interviews and a survey of 145 risk communication experts based in academic institutions and government agencies explored how important research on each of 48 topics would be to improving agencies’risk communication efforts. Respondents identified topics within three areas as priorities for further research: 1) involving communities in agency decisionmaking; 2) communicating with communities of different races, ethnic backgrounds, and incomes; and 3) evaluating risk communication. Both practitioners and researchers responded to additional statements about agencies’risk communication practices with reservations about staff and managers’commitment to effective communication about environmental issues. We discuss the implications of these findings.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Center for Environmental Communication, Rutgers University, Cook College, Box 231, New Brunswick, New Jersey 08903.

Publication date: April 1, 1995


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