1. Alicia Torres
  2. https://www.childtrends.org/staff/alicia-torres
  3. Senior Director of Communication Science and Hispanic Outreach
  4. Child Trends News Service: Advancing Social Science Knowledge to Benefit Hispanic Families - Phase 2
  5. https://www.childtrends.org/child-trends-news-service
  6. Child Trends
  1. Monica Arkin
  2. https://www.childtrends.org/staff/monica-arkin
  3. Senior Research Assistant
  4. Child Trends News Service: Advancing Social Science Knowledge to Benefit Hispanic Families - Phase 2
  5. https://www.childtrends.org/child-trends-news-service
  6. Child Trends
  1. Tina Plaza-Whoriskey
  2. https://www.childtrends.org/staff/tina-plaza-whoriskey
  3. Senior Communications Manager
  4. Child Trends News Service: Advancing Social Science Knowledge to Benefit Hispanic Families - Phase 2
  5. https://www.childtrends.org/child-trends-news-service
  6. Child Trends
Public Discussion
  • Icon for: Monica Arkin

    Monica Arkin

    May 12, 2019 | 05:29 p.m.

    Welcome to our project's presentation! After viewing our video, we invite you to answer any or all the following questions. 

    • What does mass media (such as TV news) get wrong about science and scientists? What do they get right?
    • In addition to local TV news, what are other settings that may be useful to disseminate STEM research, particularly child development research, to parents? Where else can we reach parents/caregivers where they are to share research-informed parenting practices?
    • As we conduct our qualitative and quantitative research to determine the extent to which these videos influence parents' awareness, knowledge, and behaviors, what specific research questions might we consider? Specifically, what gaps in the informal STEM learning literature should we address so we can learn more about the nexus between research, media, and the public?
    • What issues are important to communicate to parents, especially parents who may not have other means of accessing scientific literature?
    • If you are a parent: What research-informed parenting topics/issues do you want to know more about?

    Thank you! We look forward to engaging with you throughout the showcase.

    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Darla Edwards
  • May 13, 2019 | 11:32 a.m.

    Providing hispanic families with access to findings from child development research via news media seems like an important undertaking, and it appears that the project team has been very thoughtful about the recommendations for ways to engage families. I was wondering about the role of the child development researchers themselves - whether they are receiving any training in science communication as part of the initiative. It was mentioned in the video that it's important to select researchers who might reflect the community (perhaps to foster implicit trust?), but it seems to me that researchers' ability to make their findings relatable and actionable for parents may be just as, if not more important, in these kinds of endeavors. Can you say more about how the child development researchers are collaborating with the news media outlets (if at all) to develop the segments, what role you think they can play, and whether you have any hoped-for project outcomes that will target that group?

  • Icon for: Monica Arkin

    Monica Arkin

    May 13, 2019 | 12:46 p.m.

    Thank you for your question! You raise an important point that is central to one of our project’s goals: bridging the gap between the two distinct cultures of scientific research and news production.

    Half of our news reports include video segments from interviews with the researchers themselves, while the other half are shorter vignettes that do not include researcher interviews. All researchers we work with are involved during the script review and video review stage, giving scientific accuracy feedback that the producers incorporate. Additionally, most researchers who participate in interviews to be used in the news reports receive a brief media, or interview prep training ahead of time from our editorial director. This training focuses on how to “bottom-line” research concisely and communicate findings in lay language.

    After the videos have aired on TV news, we loop back to the researchers and ask them to complete a follow-up survey. The survey asks questions such as, “Please indicate to what extent you agree with the following statements:

    • Working with the news service helped me improve my ability to communicate research in lay language.
    • I learned something new about the way the news media operates.
    • I used this experience as a teaching opportunity for my graduate students.”

    A majority of respondents indicated that working collaboratively with us to produce the script and video improved their ability to communicate their research in lay language and taught them something new about the news media. Half of the respondents indicated that they used the experience as a teaching opportunity for their graduate students. We also use the survey as a way to collect overall feedback on the process and ways that we can improve the experience for the researcher.

    We hope that our project helps us learn how to effectively bridge the gap between the scientific research community and the news media. This means building understanding, collaboration opportunities, and managing expectations among the various groups and individuals. Specifically, we hope that the researchers we work with feel more confident in their ability to communicate their work to the public and have greater trust in the news media.

  • Icon for: Jake Foster

    Jake Foster

    May 13, 2019 | 01:57 p.m.

    I agree with the value of clearly and concisely sharing research-based practices to the broader community, and high-need populations in particular. And it certainly seems that your partnership with the news organization is providing a platform for reaching a very wide audience! How do you choose the topics to include? Particularly given that it seems that the ages the reports focus on seem to be from babies to adolescents. Is there a way for researchers to indicate interest in contributing to your effort or a report? And what percentage of the broadcasts done to date have a STEM focus? It is exciting to see a systematic partnership to connect research and families.

  • Icon for: Monica Arkin

    Monica Arkin

    May 14, 2019 | 10:26 a.m.

    Hi Jake,

    Thanks for writing. The topics of our news reports are summarized in our YouTube playlists: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCV28xPH38znNaet8VNw6mww/playlists

    You are correct that we try to feature content that is relevant for parents at various stages, from as early as prenatal to late adolescence. A majority of the research findings that we feature in our news reports are identified through our internal research team or sent to us as recommendations from our project’s advisory panel. We also do outreach at conferences to connect with researchers who have interesting publications. The key criteria for identifying research to be featured in news reports are rigorous research methods, peer-review, and that the findings are timely and relevant for parents. We have an internal vetting system that ensures research publications meet all of these criteria. We are also particularly eager to feature research that may be of interest to Latinx families.

    On occasion, researchers who are familiar with our project email us at ctns@childtrends.org to request that we consider their research for a news report. Most of the time, these efforts do result in a news report and we encourage anyone who has peer-reviewed findings they would like to share with parents to please reach out to us.

    On a broad level, all of our news reports can be classified as having STEM content since they all feature research that was conducted using the scientific method, whether that research focuses on brain science, nutritional science, psychology, or any of the other fields that we highlight. Some specific content areas that STEM researchers may be interested in are kindergarten readiness (32% of our news reports), technology and screens (8% of our news reports), and math skill development (7% of our news reports).

  • Icon for: Michelle Quirke

    Michelle Quirke

    Project Manager
    May 13, 2019 | 04:33 p.m.

    It is promising to see research results being shared with everyday users of the information. This is an idea that could have a large impact on child development and help to reduce the gap in readiness. Is there a location where the public can see the resources created for parents or learn more about the parent's feedback on having the resources? 

  • Icon for: Monica Arkin

    Monica Arkin

    May 14, 2019 | 10:37 a.m.

    Hi Michelle,

    Great to hear from you. All of our videos are posted on our YouTube channel and a select few are featured on our web page. We promote these links on our Twitter account, but a vast majority of our views come from the videos that are broadcast on local TV news across the country.

    As for parent feedback, we published a brief in August 2018 highlighting findings from focus groups that we conducted during the proof-of-concept pilot year of the project. Some of the findings from this brief are included in our video above. One suggestion that we heard from several parents was that they would like to see the messages in our videos reinforced across various settings, not just local TV news. We are in the midst of a study that will examine how these videos can be implemented into early childhood parenting programs to enhance parents' learning.

    In the coming months we will be gathering qualitative and quantitative data from parents that we look forward to sharing.

  • Icon for: Breanne Litts

    Breanne Litts

    May 14, 2019 | 01:19 p.m.

    Thank you for sharing your project! I love how this project tackles the important issue of science communication to families. I am curious how parents have responded to these clips about research findings. I recently listened to this NPR article about how facts aren't enough. What sort of impact of these clips have you noticed in your research?

    I also wonder what else parents need in order to implement the research findings. In other words, informing parents is helpful, but there are many who might not know what the findings mean in their daily lives. How have you tackled this in your work?

  • Icon for: Monica Arkin

    Monica Arkin

    May 14, 2019 | 04:50 p.m.

    Thank you for sharing that NPR piece! It echoes what we have learned from our parent focus groups – many factors influence how audiences interact with our content and whether they understand the content the way in which we intend. Some of our focus group findings are featured in a research brief we published in August 2018.

    We also found that emotions play a role in how parents perceive the news reports. For example, when Latina mothers in our focus groups viewed news reports that discussed achievement gaps between ethnic/racial groups, it appeared that their initial emotional reactions inhibited their ability to absorb the recommendations, which were presented later in the video. Therefore it is important to identify context and rationale when presenting information that may elicit emotional reactions, such as explaining risk factors associated with living in conditions of poverty that could contribute to these achievement gaps.

    Your questions about measuring behavior change in addition to increased knowledge mirror the questions we are also currently thinking about. Our ongoing study measures how exposure to our video news reports is associated with changes in awareness, knowledge, and intent to adopt behaviors. We are measuring this both in participants who will view the videos embedded in TV news reports as well as participants who will view the videos through a parenting program (our videos have been integrated into the curriculum, strategically selected to align with the topics the program already covers). In the future, we are hoping to study the long-term impact of the video news reports on parents’ behaviors.

  • Icon for: Brian Drayton

    Brian Drayton

    May 15, 2019 | 07:12 a.m.

    Very interesting discussion!

        I am thinking about scientist/parent communication as a 2-way street — Have you explored the possibility of scientists asking parents about questions they wish could be researched?  It'd be sort of fun to develop a list of "Grand Challenges" for this field, and it might be cool for parents to know that some of their questions are mysteries to the experts as well!

  • May 16, 2019 | 09:23 a.m.

    Brian, I also wondered if positioning parents as experts about children's behavior and development might also be part of these or future videos.

  • Icon for: Monica Arkin

    Monica Arkin

    May 17, 2019 | 02:24 p.m.

    Thank you both for viewing our video and engaging with our project! 

    In response to Brian's question: We administered surveys to low-income, Latinx parents (our target population) and asked what topics they are interested in learning more about. Many of the topics they suggested are things that already have a lot of attention in research, indicating that the issue is a disconnect between research findings and parents rather than a gap in the literature.

    As for Camellia's suggestion, that is a great idea and something we are always trying to incorporate into our videos! Focus group findings indicated that parents liked hearing from other parents. So while we feature clips from researcher interviews in many of our news reports (50%), we also try to incorporate parent voices and experiences. Here are some examples of the ways we try to include parents in the news reports:

    1. More Play, Less Pounds
    2. Divorce, Co-Parenting, and Kids
    3. Disciplining Your Tween and Teen
  • Icon for: Darla Edwards

    Darla Edwards

    Director of Special Projects
    May 15, 2019 | 10:48 a.m.

    This is a brilliant concept.  What a great way to help families become more knowledgeable of the research while modeling effective activities and strategies that they can do at home.  As I talk with educators, I know that socio-emotional topics are a primary concern.   I was glad to see that you have videos to address this as well.   Are many educators / parents aware of this great information that you provide?  Are you partnering or open to partnering with organizations to help you share these research informed parenting practices with families on a large scale?

  • Icon for: Monica Arkin

    Monica Arkin

    May 17, 2019 | 02:37 p.m.

    Thank you, Darla! You are correct that many of our news reports center on SEL. We are currently partnering with a national parenting program called Abriendo Puertas to pilot the use of our videos in their curriculum. We are always considering new ways to share the news reports and would love to connect if you have suggestions. We invite you to email us at ctns@childtrends.org


  • May 19, 2019 | 07:21 p.m.

    This is a very valuable service!  One of the challenges in doing it well is to tailor child development research findings to the local community.  There is a great deal of well-intentioned advice to parents that is overgeneralized from research done in middle-class European American communities by researchers who are not familiar with other cultural settings. 

    It can be problematic when there is not recognition of the differing value systems and circumstances.  It is also a problem if the advice de-values the strengths of the families and communities -- with which researchers from mainstream backgrounds may be unfamiliar.  An example of a strength for learning in many Mexican-heritage families is shown in our video on sophisticated collaboration as an ensemble.

    With Child Trends' strong reputation, I hope I'm correct in assuming that the news stories are careful not to undermine the existing strengths of families and communities.  One way to do this is to encourage people (from all backgrounds) to learn to do things in more than one way.

  • Icon for: Tina Plaza-Whoriskey

    Tina Plaza-Whoriskey

    May 20, 2019 | 11:03 a.m.

    Hi Barbara,

    Thanks for your feedback. We are trying to be mindful of the importance of featuring the work of authors who focus on the strengths of different communities. Two authors that we interviewed recently, come to mind, Gigliana Melzi at NYU and Claudia Galindo at the University of Maryland. Here is the Melzi's story: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b_glSv-tRDs&list=PLdHeyNWa_9ni_dOs670ysbR_auXQBireH&index=3&t=0s and here is Galindo's: https://www.childtrends.org/videos/counting-steps-and-math-success. We are always looking for these type of studies so we are glad we connected with you.





  • Further posting is closed as the showcase has ended.