Article: “Using social network analysis to document science festival partnerships”

What do we know?

  • The authors of this article applied a social network analysis to see how science festivals contributed to the development of a STEM learning ecosystem by examining the North Carolina Science Festival.
  • Science festivals require high levels of collaboration to plan and implement and can involve dozens of partnerships between organizations invested in the public science sector. This collaboration highlights a “STEM learning ecosystem” composed of people involved in a variety of STEM learning opportunities.
  • The social network analysis highlighted a low level of network density, but a relatively high level of connectedness.
  • Organizations sought out partnerships with others for a variety of reasons, the most common ones being: to coordinate and/or lead event activities, to exchange ideas and/or information, and to offer in-kind resources.
  • The authors found that science festivals do, indeed, serve as catalysts in the ecosystem.

How do we know?

The authors focused on almost 500 public science events in North Carolina hosted by over 200 event hosts and associated partners. Event hosts were contacted to participate in a survey that explored relationships between the host organization and other partners. This data was supplemented by case study interviews with three host organizations.

Where do we go to learn more?

Bevc, Christine A., Denise Young, and Karen Peterman. (2012). “Using social network analysis to document science festival partnerships.” Journal of Science Communication, 15(05).