Means of Knowledge Dissemination: Are the Café Scientifique and the Artistic Performance Equally Effective?


An increasing number of health researchers are opting for innovative approaches to communicate research findings. This article compares two methods for disseminating findings to various audiences: the Café scientifique and the artistic performance. Analysis of surveys completed by 78 respondents indicates that the artistic performance is more effective in communicating research findings based on three of the four evaluation criteria used: it generates more questions and emotion among audience members and influences a greater number of individuals to alter their initial understanding of and opinion on an issue. The Café scientifique and the artistic performance both help participants to better understand the topic examined. The arts, however, shine a different light on the issue.

Share and Cite:

Lafrenière, D. & Cox, S. (2012). Means of Knowledge Dissemination: Are the Café Scientifique and the Artistic Performance Equally Effective?. Sociology Mind, 2, 191-199. doi: 10.4236/sm.2012.22025.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] Abelson, J., Giacomini, M., Lehoux, P., & Gauvin, F. P. (2007). Bring- ing “the Public” into health technology assessment and coverage policy decisions: From Principles to Practice. Health Policy, 82, 37-50. doi:10.1016/j.healthpol.2006.07.009
[2] Bauer, M. W. (2009). Editorial. Public Understanding of Science, 18, 378-382. doi:10.1177/0963662509340123
[3] Bergum, V., & Godkin, D. (2008). Nursing research and the transfor- mative value of art. In G. J. Knowles & A. L. Cole (Eds.), Handbook of the arts in qualitative research: Perspectives, Methodologies, Ex- amples and Issues (pp. 603-612). Los Angeles: Sages Publications.
[4] Boyd III, H. C. (2006). Persuasive talk: Is it what you say or how you say it? Journal of Advertising Research, 46, 84-92. doi:10.2501/S0021849906060090
[5] Boydell, K. M., Jackson, S., & Strauss, J. S. (2011). Help seeking ex- periences of youth with first episode psychosis: A research-based dance production. In K. M. Boydell, & H. B. Ferguson (Eds.), Hear- ing voices: Qualitative inquiry in early psychosis. Waterloo, ON: Wilfrid Laurier Press.
[6] Cahnmann-Taylor, M. (2008). Arts-based-research: Histories and new directions. In M. Cahnmann-Taylor, & R. Siegesmund (Eds.), Arts- based research in education—Foundations for practice (pp. 3-15). New York and London: Routledge.
[7] Canadian Institutes of Health Research. (2007). CIHR Café Scientifique: Guidelines for Organizers. URL.
[8] Castleden, H., Garvin, T., & Huu-ay-aht First Nation. (2008). Modify- ing photovoice for community-based participatory Indigenous re- search. Social Science and Medicine, 66, 1393-1405. doi:10.1016/j.socscimed.2007.11.030
[9] Clarke, L. E., & Nisker, J. (2007). In our hands: On becoming a doctor. Lawrencetown Beach, NS: Pottersfield Press.
[10] Colantonio, A., Kontos, P. C., Gilbert, J. E., Rossiter, K., Gray, J., & Keightley, M. L. (2008). After the crash: Research-based theater for knowledge transfer. The Journal for Continuing Education in Health Professions, 28, 180-185. doi:10.1002/chp.177
[11] Cole, A., & Knowles, G. J., (2010). Arts-informed research. In G. J. Knowles, & A. L. Cole (Eds.), Handbook of the arts in qualitative research: Perspectives, methodologies, examples and issues (pp. 55-81). Los Angeles: Sages Publications.
[12] Cox, S. M., Lafrenière, D., Brett-McLean, P., Collie, K., Cooley, N., Dunbrack, J., & Frager, G. (2010). Tipping the iceberg? The state of arts and health in Canada. Arts & Health, 2, 109-124.
[13] Cox, S. M., Kazubowski-Houston, M., & Nisker, J. (2009a). Genetics on stage: Theatre and public engagement in health policy develop- ment. Social Science and Medicine, 68, 1472-1480. doi:10.1016/j.socscimed.2009.01.044
[14] Cox, S. M., Lafrenière, D., Belliveau, G., Lea, G. W., O’Donoghue, D., & Sharon, R. (2009b). Centring the human subject. Disseminating study results through drama, poetry, song and visual arts [DVD]. Vancouver: SFU Media Design Services.
[15] Dallas, D. (2006). Café scientifique—Déjà vu. Cell, 126, 227-229. doi:10.1016/j.cell.2006.07.006
[16] Dallas, D. (1999). The café scientifique. Nature, 399, 120. doi:10.1038/20118
[17] Davies, S., McCallie, E., Simonsson, E., Lehr, J., & Duensing, S. (2009). Discussing dialogue: Perspectives on the value of science dialogue events that do not inform policy. Public Understanding of Science, 18, 338-353. doi:10.1177/0963662507079760
[18] Deuring, J. W., & Kreuter, M. W. (2010). Designing for diffusion: How can we improve uptake of cancer communication innovations? Pa- tient Education and Counseling, 81, S100-S110. doi:10.1016/j.pec.2010.10.013
[19] Doucet, H., Dion-Labrie, M., Durand, C., & Ganache, I. (2007). Ge- nomics and modes of democratic dialogue: An analysis of two pro- jects. In B. M. Knopper (Ed.), Genomics and public health: Legal and socio-ethical perspectives (pp. 287-304). Leiden/Boston: Mar- tinus Nijhoff.
[20] Eakin, K., & Endicott, M. (2006). Knowledge Translation through Re- search-Based Theatre. Healthcare Policy/Politiques de santé, 2, 54-59.
[21] Eisner, E. (2008a). Art and knowledge. In G. J. Knowles, & A. L. Cole (Eds.), Handbook of the arts in qualitative research: Perspectives, methodologies, examples and issues (pp. 3-12). Los Angeles: Sages Publications.
[22] Eisner, E. (2008b). Persistent tensions in arts-based research. In M. Cahnmann-Taylor, & R. Siegesmund (Eds.), Arts-based research in education—Foundations for practice (pp. 16-27). New York and London: Routledge.
[23] Eisner, E. (1981). On the difference between scientific and artistic ap- proaches to qualitative research. Educational Researchers, 10, 5-9.
[24] Fraser, K. D., & Sayah, F. (2011). Arts-based Methods in Health Research: A Systematic Review of the Literature. Arts & Health, 3, 110-145.
[25] Gray, R. E., Sinding, C., Ivonoffski, V., Fitch, M., Hampton, A., & Greenberg, M. (2000). The use of research-based theatre in a project related to metastatic breast cancer. Health Expectations, 3, 137-144. doi:10.1046/j.1369-6513.2000.00071.x
[26] Groft J. N., & Robinson Vollman, A. (2007). Seeking serenity: Living with HIV/AIDS in rural Western Canada. Rural and Remote Health, 7, 677.
[27] Haines, R., Oliffe, J. L., & Botorff, J. L., Poland, J. L., & Blake, D. (2010). “The missing picture”: Tobacco use through the eyes of smokers. Tobacco Control, 19, 206-212. doi:10.1136/tc.2008.027565
[28] Hovland, C., & Weiss, W. (1952). The influence of source credibility in communication effectiveness. Public Opinion Quarterly, 15, 635-650. doi:10.1086/266350
[29] Ivonoffski, V., & Gray, R. E. (2000). No big deal? Toronto, ON: Tor- onto Sunnybrook Regional Centre.
[30] Kontos, P., & Naglie, G. (2007). “Expressions of personhood in Alz- heimer’s disease”: An evaluation of research-based theatre as a ped- agogical tool. Qualitative Health Research, 17, 799-811. doi:10.1177/1049732307302838
[31] Kurath, M., & Gisler, P. (2009). Informing, involving or engaging? Science communication, in the Ages of Atom-, Bio- and Nanotech- nology. Public Understanding of Science, 18, 559-573. doi:10.1177/0963662509104723
[32] Lafrenière, D., & Cox, S. M. (2010). Comparaison de deux méthodes de dissémination de résultats de recherche dans le domaine de la santé: Les arts et le café scientifique. Sociologie et sociétés, 42, 121- 142.
[33] Lapum, J. (2005). Women’s Experiences of Heart Surgery Recovery: A Poetical Dissemination. Canadian Journal of Cardiovascular Nurs- ing, 15, 12-20.
[34] Lasswell, H. D. (1948). The structure and function of communication in society. In L. Bryson (Ed.), The communication of ideas (pp. 37-51). New York: Harper and Row.
[35] Lavis, J. N., Robertson, D., Woodside, J. M., McLeod, C. B., & Abel- son, J. (2003). How can research organizations more effectively transfer research knowledge to decision makers? Milbank Quarterly, 81, 221-248. doi:10.1111/1468-0009.t01-1-00052
[36] Little, J. M. (2010). Is there a real nexus between ethics and aesthetics? Bioethical Inquiry, 7, 91-102. doi:10.1007/s11673-010-9214-x
[37] McDonald, M., & Cox, S. M. (2009). Moving towards evidence-based human participant protection. Journal of Academic Ethics, 7, 1-16. doi:10.1007/s10805-009-9082-3
[38] McDonald, M., Townsend, A., Cox, S.M., Damiano Paterson, N., & Lafrenière, D. (2008). Accounts of human subjects: Optimizing trust in health research relationships. Journal of Empirical Research on Human Research Ethics, 3, 35-47. doi:10.1525/jer.2008.3.4.35
[39] McIntyre, M., & Cole, A. (2008). Love stories about caregiving and Alzheimer’s disease—A Performative methodology. Journal of Health Psychology, 13, 213-225. doi:10.1177/1359105307086701
[40] McLuhan, M. (1964). Understanding media: The extensions of man. New York: McGraw Hill.
[41] Michael, M. (2009). Publics performing publics: Of PiGs, PiPs and politics. Public Understanding of Science, 18, 617-631. doi:10.1177/0963662508098581
[42] Mienczakowski, J. (2009). Pretending to know: Ethnography, artistry and audience. Ethnography and Education, 4, 321-333. doi:10.1080/17457820903170127
[43] Mitchell, G. J., Jonas-Simpson, C. M., and Ivonoffski, V. (2006). Re- search-based theatre: The making of I’m still here! Nursing Science Quarterly, 19, 198-206. doi:10.1177/0894318406289878
[44] Moffit, P., & Vollman, A. R. (2004). Photovoice: Picturing the health of Aboriginal women in a remote northern community. Canadian Journal of Nursing Research, 36, 189-201.
[45] Nisker, J. A., Martin, D., Bluhm, R., & Daar, A. (2006). Theatre as a public engagement tool for health-policy research. Health Policy, 78, 258-271. doi:10.1016/j.healthpol.2005.10.009
[46] O’Donoghue, D. (2007). “James always hangs out here”: Making space for place in studying masculinities at school. Visual Studies, 22, 62-73. doi:10.1080/14725860601167218
[47] Oliffe, J. L., & Botorff, J. L. (2007). Further than the eye can see: Photo ellicitation and research with men. Qualitative Health Research, 17, 850-858. doi:10.1177/1049732306298756
[48] Poudrier, J., & MacLean, R. T. (2009). “We’ve fallen into the cracks”: Aboriginal women’s experiences with breast cancer through photo- voice. Nursing Inquiry, 16, 306-317. doi:10.1111/j.1440-1800.2009.00435.x
[49] Rootman, I., & Ronson, B. (2005). Literacy and health research in canada: where have we been and where should we go? Canadian Journal of Public Health, 96, 62-77.
[50] Rossiter, K., Kontos, P., Colantonio, A., Gilbert, J., Gray, J., & Keight- ley, M. (2008). Staging data: Theatre as tool for analysis and knowledge transfer in health research. Social Science & Medicine, 66, 130-146. doi:10.1016/j.socscimed.2007.07.021
[51] Sinding, C., Gray, R., Grassau, P., Damianakis, F., & Hampson, A. (2006). Audience responses to a research-based drama about life after breast cancer. Psycho-Oncology, 15, 694-700. doi:10.1002/pon.998
[52] Thomas, G. P., & Soldow, G. F. (1989). Nonverbal behavior in television advertising: How forceful is a forceful actor? In J. H. Leigh, & C. R. Martin Jr. (Eds.), Current Issues and Research in Advertising, Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Graduate School of Business Administration.
[53] Venuta, R., & Graham, I. D. (2010). Involving citizens and patients in health research. Journal of Ambulatory Care Management, 33, 215- 222.
[54] Viswanath, K., & Emmons, K. (2006), Message effects and social de- terminants of health: Its application to cancer disparities. Journal of Communication, 56, S238-S264. doi:10.1111/j.1460-2466.2006.00292.x

Copyright © 2024 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.