With support from the National Science Foundation (NSF) Knology, The Center for Research and Evaluation at COSI, Oregon State University’s Center for Research on Lifelong STEM Learning and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums collaborated on a research to practice project. The results from the project deepened understanding of how the public situates zoos/aquariums (Z/A) in their broader STEM learning ecosystem, how preconceptions, trust, and conferred authority influence what is learned, what visitors do, and how their experiences are integrated into their lives. Among other findings, these studies demonstrated that trust and authority is topically specific and varies by type of institution, that learning priorities vary based on life stage, and accumulate based on multiple visits over time. The funding also supported a convening of the community of researchers that resulted in the development of a social science research agenda in 2020.
Below are some of the critical deliverables that grew out of the WZAM project.
Reports and Papers: