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Mapping the Climate Communication Research Landscape
AdvisorBoyle, Douglas P
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Climate communication today seems to be at a point of reinvention. The recent rapid growth of the field and its disciplinary diversity have produced a profusion of evidence-based techniques and theories for communicating climate science and climate change, but no definitive answer on how to move the needle on climate action. A core challenge for the field at present is how to make this abundance of research accessible and usable for practitioners, so that opportunities for impact are not missed. Answering calls in the literature for synoptic perspectives on areas of science communication, I use bibliometric network analysis, topic modeling, and knowledge mapping techniques to create and analyze maps of the climate communication research landscape as represented by 2,995 publications about climate communication from Web of Science. Knowledge maps are structural and visual portraits of scholarship which are useful for identifying areas of opportunity and coordinating effort in interdisciplinary and action-oriented knowledge domains. The knowledge maps themselves reveal dense webs of connection among five distinct knowledge communities, indicating an intensely collaborative knowledge domain, and suggest new avenues for application of climate communication knowledge, in particular to support climate services and co-production. After presenting the results of the knowledge mapping study, I discuss ethical and practical challenges encountered in developing these knowledge maps and the strategies I employed to overcome them, adding to the methodological literature on this subject. Taken together, the three chapters of this dissertation represent a conversation about the structure of climate communication research and the tools required for discovering, depicting, and understanding that structure. The contribution of this work overall is to offer a fixed vantage point from which to study past and current state-of-the art climate communication, and the knowledge structure that supports it. This analysis can act as a benchmark for where climate communication is now, and a tool for recognizing when and how the field has grown beyond its current structure.