Significant effort, and funding, now goes toward public engagement activities, yet robust evaluation remains difficult. Mark Bowler and his colleagues succeeded – and even published a peer-reviewed scientific paper from the results.
There was a satisfying ripple of activity on the release of our latest paper, and a sense of relief on our part that our central messages had clearly not been lost on the active science communicators who soon began to tweet about it.
On the face of it there is nothing particularly new about what we had done – we used some standard behavioural methods to measure visitor interest in the University of St. Andrews’ primate behaviour research centre, ‘Living Links’ in Edinburgh Zoo. What is new was summed up nicely by science writer Ed Yong:
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