Prevention Science

, Volume 19, Issue 3, pp 347–357 | Cite as

Transfer Entails Communication: The Public Understanding of (Social) Science as a Stage and a Play for Implementing Evidence-Based Prevention Knowledge and Programs

  • Rainer Bromme
  • Andreas Beelmann


Many social science-based interventions entail the transfer of evidence-based knowledge to the “target population,” because the acquisition and the acceptance of that knowledge are necessary for the intended improvement of behavior or development. Furthermore, the application of a certain prevention program is often legitimated by a reference to science-based reasons such as an evaluation according to scientific standards. Hence, any implementation of evidence-based knowledge and programs is embedded in the public understanding of (social) science. Based on recent research on such public understanding of science, we shall discuss transfer as a process of science communication.


Implementation Prevention Public understanding of science Naïve theories 


Compliance with Ethical Standards


Preparation of this paper was supported, in part, by the DFG (German Science Foundation) in a grant to R. Bromme (BR1126/6-1) within the German research program “Science and the Public” (SPP 1409); see

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Research Involving Human Participants and/or Animals

Not applicable.

Informed Consent

Not applicable.


  1. Allum, N., Sturgis, P., Tabourazi, D., & Brunton-Smith, I. (2008). Science knowledge and attitudes across cultures: A meta-analysis. Public Understanding of Science, 17, 35–54. doi: 10.1177/0963662506070159.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Ambrose, S. A., Bridges, M. W., Di Pietro, M., Lovett, M. C., & Norman, M. K. (2010). How learning works: 7 research based principles for smart teaching. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  3. Barnett, J., Cooper, H., & Senior, V. (2007). Belief in public efficacy, trust, and attitudes toward modern genetic science. Risk Analysis, 27, 921–933. doi: 10.1111/j.1539-6924.2007.00932.x.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Beelmann, A. (2011). The scientific foundation of prevention. The status quo and future challenges of developmental crime prevention. In T. Bliesener, A. Beelmann, & M. Stemmler (Eds.), Antisocial behavior and crime. Contributions of developmental and evaluation research to prevention and intervention (pp. 137–164). Cambridge: Hogrefe Publishing.Google Scholar
  5. Beelmann, A., & Heinemann, K. S. (2014). Preventing prejudice and improving intergroup attitudes: A meta-analysis of child and adolescent training programs. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 35, 10–24. doi: 10.1016/j.appdev.2013.11.002.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Beelmann, A., & Raabe, T. (2009). The effects of preventing antisocial behavior and crime in childhood and adolescence: results and implications of research reviews and meta-analyses. European Journal of Developmental Science, 3, 260–281.Google Scholar
  7. Benassi, V. A., Overson, C. E., & Hakala, C. M. (2014). Applying science of learning in education. Infusing psychological science into the curriculum. Washington: American Psychological Association.Google Scholar
  8. Besley, J. (2014). Science and technology: Public attitudes and understanding. In National Science Board (Ed.), Science and engineering indicators (pp. 1–53). Arlington: National Science Foundation (NSB 14-01).Google Scholar
  9. Bromme, R., & Goldman, S. R. (2014). The public’s bounded understanding of science. Educational Psychologist, 49, 59–69. doi: 10.1080/00461520.2014.921572.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Bromme, R., & Prenzel, M. (2014). Von der Forschung zur evidenzbasierten Entscheidung: Die Darstellung und das öffentliche Verständnis der empirischen Bildungsforschung. [From research to evidence based decisions: The reporting and the public understanding of educational research] (Zeitschrift für Erziehungswissenschaft, Sonderheft, Vol. 27). Wiesbaden: VS Springer. doi: 10.1007/s11618-014-0514-5.Google Scholar
  11. Burkhardt, J. T., Schröter, D. C., Magura, S., Means, S. N., & Coryn, C. L. S. (2015). An overview of evidence-based program registers (EBPRs) for behavioral health. Evaluation and Program Planning, 48, 92–99. doi: 10.1016/j.evalprogplan.2014.09.006.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  12. Castell, S., Charlton, A., Clemence, M., Pettigrew, N., Pope, S., Quigley, A., & Silman, T. (2014). Public attitudes to science 2014. London: Ipos MORI Social Research Institute.Google Scholar
  13. Collins, H., & Evans, R. (2007). Re-thinking expertise. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  14. Durlak, J. A., & DuPre, E. P. (2008). Implementation matters: A review of research on the influence of implementation on program outcomes and the factors affecting implementation. American Journal of Community Psychology, 41, 327–350. doi: 10.1007/s10464-008-9165-0.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. Durlak, J. A., Weissberg, R. P., Dymnicki, A. B., Taylor, R. D., & Schellinger, K. B. (2011). The impact of enhancing students’ social and emotional learning: A meta-analysis of school-based universal interventions. Child Development, 82, 405–432. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.2010.01564.x.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. Eurobarometer. (2010). Special Eurobarometer 340. Science and technology. Wave 73.1. Brussels: European Commission.Google Scholar
  17. Fanelli, D. (2013). Redefine misconduct as distorted reporting. Nature, 494, 149.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. Farrington, D. P., & Ttofi, M. M. (2009). School-based programs to reduce bullying and victimization. Campbell Systematic Review, 2009, 6. doi: 10.4073/csr.2009.6.Google Scholar
  19. Fixsen, D. L., Naoom, S. F., Blase, K. A., Friedman, R. M., & Wallace, F. (2005). Implementation research: a synthesis of the literature. Tempa: University of South Florida.Google Scholar
  20. Gorman, D. M. (2016). Can we trust positive results of intervention research? The role of conflict of interest. Prevention Science. doi: 10.1007/s11121-016-0648-1.
  21. Hendriks, F., Kienhues, D., & Bromme, R. (2016). Trust in science and the science of trust. In B. Blöbaum (Ed.), Trust and communication in a digitized world: Models and concepts of trust research (pp. 143–159). Cham: Springer International Publishing.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Ho, S., Brossard, D., & Scheufele, D. A. (2008). Effects of value predispositions, mass media and knowledge on public attitudes toward embryonic stem cell research. International Journal of Public Opinion Research, 20, 171–192. doi: 10.1093/ijpor/edn017.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Kahan, D. M., Jenkins-Smith, H., & Braman, D. (2011). Cultural cognition of scientific consensus. Journal of Risk Research, 14, 147–174. doi: 10.1080/13669877.2010.511246.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Kazdin, A. E. (2005). Parent management training. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  25. Keil, F. C. (2010). The feasibility of folk science. Cognitive Science, 34, 826–862. doi: 10.1111/j.1551-6709.2010.01108.x.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  26. Keil, F. C., Lockhart, K. L., & Schlegel, E. (2010). A bump on a bump? Emerging intuitions concerning the relative difficulty of the sciences. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 139, 1–15. doi: 10.1037/a0018319.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Lakatos, I., & Musgrave, A. (Eds.). (1970). Criticism and the growth of knowledge. London: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  28. Layton, D., Jenkins, E., Macgill, S., & Davey, A. (1993). Inarticulate science? Driffield: Studies in Education.Google Scholar
  29. Leviton, L. C., & Hughes, E. F. X. (1981). Reseach on the utilization of evaluations. A review and synthesis. Evaluation Review, 5, 525–548.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Lewandowski, S., Ecker, U. K., Seifert, C., Schwarz, N., & Cook, J. (2012). Misinformation and its correction: Continued influence and successful debiasing. Psychological Science in the Public Interest, 13, 106–131. doi: 10.1177/1529100612451018.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Lilienfeld, S. O. (2012). Public skepticism of Psychology: Why many people perceive the study of human behavior as unscientific. American Psychologist, 67, 111–129. doi: 10.1037/a0023963.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  32. Lipsey, M. (2009). The primary factors that characterize effective interventions with juvenile offenders: A meta-analytic overview. Victims and Offenders, 4, 124–147.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Longino, H. E. (2002). The fate of knowledge. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  34. Maier, M., Rothmund, T., Retzbach, A., Otto, L., & Besley, J. C. (2014). Informal learning through science media usage. Educational Psychologist, 49, 86–103. doi: 10.1080/00461520.2014.916215.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Meyers, D. C., Durlak, J. A., & Wandersman, A. (2012). The quality implementation framework: a synthesis of critical steps in the implementation process. American Journal of Community Psychology, 50, 462–480. doi: 10.1007/s10464-012-9522-x.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  36. Molloy, L. E., Moore, J. E., Trail, J., van Epps, J. J., & Hopfer, S. (2013). Understanding real-world implementation quality and “active ingredients” of PBIS. Prevention Science, 14, 593–605. doi: 10.1007/s11121-012-0343-9.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  37. Moore, J. E., Bumbarger, B. K., & Cooper, B. R. (2013). Examining adaptations of evidence-based programs in natural contexts. Journal of Primary Prevention, 34, 147–161. doi: 10.1007/s10935-013-0303-6.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  38. Munro, G. D. (2010). The scientific impotence excuse: Discounting belief-threatening scientific abstracts. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 40, 579–600. doi: 10.1111/j.1559-1816.2010.00588.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. O’Connell, M. E., Boat, T., & Warner, K. E. (Eds.). (2009). Preventing mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders among young people. Progress and possibilities. Washington: The National Academies Press.Google Scholar
  40. Okamoto, S. K., Kulis, S., Marsiglia, F. F., Steiker, L. K. H., & Dustman, P. (2014). A continuum of approaches toward developing culturally focused prevention interventions: From adaption to grounding. Journal of Primary Prevention, 35, 103–112. doi: 10.1007/s10935-013-0333-z.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  41. Paluck, E. L., & Green, D. P. (2009). Prejudice reduction: What works? A review and assessment of research and practice. Annual Review of Psychology, 60, 339–367. doi: 10.1146/annurev.psych.60.110707.163607.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  42. Rohrbach, L. A., Grana, R., Sussman, S., & Valente, T. W. (2006). Type II translation: Transporting prevention interventions from research to real-world settings. Evaluation & the Health Profession, 29, 302–333. doi: 10.1177/0163278706290408.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Rothstein, H. R., Sutton, A. J., & Borenstein, M. (Eds.). (2005). Publication bias in meta-analysis: Prevention, assessment, and adjustment. Chichester: Wiley.Google Scholar
  44. Saguy, A. C., & Almeling, R. (2008). Fat in the fire. Science, the news media, and the ‘obesity epidemic’. Sociological Forum, 23, 53–83. doi: 10.1111/j.1573-7861.2007.00046x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Scharrer, L., Bromme, R., Britt, M. A., & Stadtler, M. (2012). The seduction of easiness: How science depictions influence laypeople’s reliance on their own evaluation of scientific information. Learning and Instruction, 22, 231–243. doi: 10.1016/j.learninstruc.2011.11.004.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Sinatra, G. M., & Chinn, C. A. (2012). Thinking and reasoning in science: Promoting epistemic conceptual change. In K. R. Harris, S. Graham, T. Urdan, A. Bus, S. Major, & H. L. Swanson (Eds.), APA educational psychology handbook (Vol. 3, pp. 257–282). Washington: American Psychological Association.Google Scholar
  47. Sperber, D., Clément, F., Heintz, C., Mascaro, O., Mercier, H., Origgi, G., & Wilson, D. (2010). Epistemic vigilance. Mind and Language, 25, 359–393. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-0017.2010.01394.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Sundell, K., Beelmann, A., Hasson, H., & von Thiele Schwarz, U. (2015). Novel programs, international adoptions, or contextual adaptations? Meta-analytical results from German and Swedish intervention research. Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology. doi: 10.1080/15374416.2015.1020540. Published online: 11 April 2015.Google Scholar
  49. Taylor, A. K., & Kowalsi, P. (2014). Student misconceptions: Where do they come from and what can we do? In V. A. Benassi, C. E. Overson, & C. M. Hakala (Eds.), Applying science of learning in education. Infusing psychological science into the curriculum (pp. 259–273). Washington: American Psychological Association.Google Scholar
  50. Thomm, E., & Bromme, R. (2012). “It should at least seem scientific!” Textual features of “scientificness” and their impact on lay assessments of online information. Science Education, 96, 197–211. doi: 10.1002/sce.20480.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Tseng, V. (2012). Social policy report: The uses of research in policy and practice. Society for Research in Child Development, 26, 1–24.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Webster-Stratton, C., & Herbert, M. (1994). Troubled families—problem children. Working with parents: a collaborative process. Chichester: Wiley.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Society for Prevention Research 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Westfälische Wilhelms-UniversityMünsterGermany
  2. 2.Friedrich-Schiller-UniversityJenaGermany

Personalised recommendations