Dr Jordan Harold
Inspiring Clearer Science Communications to Support Decision-Making
Lecturer in Psychology, School of Psychology
Jordan’s research helps to improve the communication of scientific knowledge, so people can make well-informed, evidence-based decisions about climate change.
He investigates how individuals interpret scientific data and evidence, so scientific information can be more effectively communicated to support societal decision-making.
“Together with understanding the interlinkages between people’s cognition, their behaviours, and policy responses to climate change, providing clear communication of evidence is key to making good decisions and helping enable societal transformation to a low carbon world.”
“I’ve a long-held interest in the social contexts in which scientific research is conducted and applied.
It’s no good advancing scientific knowledge if that knowledge is not communicated and applied for societal good. To borrow a quote from Sir Mark Walport, ‘Science is not finished until it’s communicated’.
By better understanding how people interpret and assimilate scientific knowledge, my work strives to develop approaches that enhance science communications and support evidence-based decision-making - whether it’s individuals making sustainable lifestyle choices or policymakers making decisions on climate change mitigation or adaptation.”
- Data visualisation at the science-policy interface – the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) provides policymakers with important scientific assessments of climate change. But the graphs and diagrams in past reports have been criticised for being inaccessible to non-experts. The Chair, Dr Hoesung Lee, wanted future reports to be "clear, accessible and user-friendly". Jordan and a team at UEA collaborated with the IPCC and InfoDesignLab to support the co-design process of figures, providing expert guidance and conducting cognitive and user evaluations.
- Approaches to communicating climatic uncertainties with decision-makers – the Future Climate for Africa programme brings together projects that aim to reduce disruption and damage from climate change, and safeguard economic development and poverty eradication. Jordan worked as part of a team at UEA with two programme partners to develop 'good practice' guidelines for communicating climatic uncertainties with decision-makers.
Thinking Without Borders
“It requires a huge scientific and social endeavour to address the challenges posed by climate change.
It’s imperative that climate research and climate solutions draw on expertise from across society, including academia, policymakers, industry and the public. We need to shape the creation of knowledge that fully reflects the rich and diverse social contexts in which climate challenges are situated.
Advancing science communication is a small but critical part of this endeavour. This can only be achieved effectively through interdisciplinary working.”