Backtracking and the ethics of framing: lessons from voles and vasopressin.

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Accountability in research, ISSN: 1545-5815, Vol: 20, Issue: 3, Page: 206-26

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McKaughan, Daniel J; Elliott, Kevin C
Informa UK Limited; Taylor and Francis
Social Sciences
article description
When communicating scientific information, experts often face difficult choices about how to promote public understanding while also maintaining an appropriate level of objectivity. We argue that one way for scientists and others involved in communicating scientific information to alleviate these tensions is to pay closer attention to the major frames employed in the contexts in which they work. By doing so, they can ideally employ useful frames while also enabling the recipients of information to "backtrack" to relatively uncontroversial facts and recognize how these frames relate to their own values and perspectives. Important strategies for promoting this sort of backtracking include identifying the weaknesses of particular frames, preventing misunderstanding of them, differentiating well-supported findings from more speculative claims, and acknowledging major alternative frames.