Climate Literacy: Climate.gov Follow-Up Evaluation—A Study of the Four NOAA Audiences

Wednesday, 17 December 2014
Frank Niepold III1, Susan Buhr Sullivan2, Anne U Gold2, Susan E Lynds3 and Karin Kirk4, (1)NOAA Washington DC, Washington, DC, United States, (2)CIRES/CU Boulder-Rsrch Lab 2, Boulder, CO, United States, (3)Univ Colorado, Boulder, CO, United States, (4)Freelance Educational Writer, Northfield, MN, United States
NOAA Climate.gov provides science and information for a climate-smart nation. Americans’ health, security, and economic well-being are closely linked to climate and weather. NOAA Climate.gov’s goals are to promote public understanding of climate science and climate-related events, to make our data products and services easy to access and use, to support educators in improving the nations climate literacy, and to serve people making climate-related decisions with tools and resources that help them answer specific questions.

The Climate.Gov Follow-Up Study of the four NOAA Audiences (climate interested public, educators, scientists, policy-makers) built upon the previous literature review and evaluation study conducted by Mooney and Phillips in 2010 and 2012, http://tinyurl.com/ma8vo83. The CIRES Education and Outreach team at the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences at University of Colorado at Boulder and the NOAA Climate.gov team will present results of the new study that used the Quality of Relationship index (awareness, trust, satisfaction, usability, and control mutuality). This index was developed in the previous study and places a new emphasis on the experience of individual users from the four audiences in their regular work or home setting. This new evaluation project used mixed methods, including an online survey, usability studies, phone interviews, and web statistics, providing multiple lines of evidence from which to draw conclusion and recommendations.

In the session, we will explore how the NOAA Climate.gov teams used the literature review and new CIRES research to address underlying challenges to achieving the portal’s goals. The research in these studies finds that people seek information in ways that are complex and that they do so by consulting a vast array of technologies. Improved and different modes of access to information have, throughout history, been led by technological innovation, but human behavior tends to be constant. The NOAA Climate.gov portal improved its design informed by the first literature review and evaluation. We will discuss how the follow-up study will inform continual audience-focused design and innovation for maximizing the effectiveness of the multiple audience portal.