Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


Environmental Health Sciences

First Advisor

Robin Kloot


Research implementation beyond the laboratory requires both sound science and high-quality science communication. Science communication is an emerging field that is increasing in importance as the public has access to more information than ever, however there are some underlying obstacles like the lack of communication-specific training that scientists receive and disconnected populations. Agricultural producers have a perceived history of being disconnected from science even though modern agriculture relies heavily on researched practices and has an entire network of extension agencies intended to communicate with producers. One reason for this perceived disconnect is the one-way communication that has dominated science communication and often ignores producers’ experiences and on-field observations. Utilizing interviews is one way to integrate listening into science communication while collecting meaningful context and experience. However, with the rise of interview data, methods to systematically analyze and integrate interview results are needed.

Three different groups of interviews and analysis are presented in this work with the goal of providing analysis methods so that interviews can effectively be used as a science communication tool and to inform research. Since science traditionally relies on quantitative analysis, the first set of semi-structured interviews with citrus producers in Florida is analyzed using binomial hypothesis testing. Interview data are statistically validated with a simple binomial method and technology requirements are established for further research based on interviewees’ needs. Though qualitative analysis is less common in hard sciences, it is what social scientists frequently use to analyze interview data, so the next collection of interviews conducted with ranchers in South Dakota uses the interdisciplinary method of thematic analysis. In this qualitative analysis, two sets of interviews are coded to themes and subthemes to compare the outcomes of different interview styles – unstructured and semi-structured. Both interview styles can be analyzed utilizing thematic analysis. In a final set of semi-structured interviews with underrepresented producers in South Carolina, a mixed-method approach to interview analysis is used to integrate both qualitative and quantitative analyses. This interview set is analyzed with both thematic and binomial analysis to determine themes and then statistically compare themes amongst subgroups. All three groups of producer interviews are found to be a meaningful engagement tool and inform further research as well as future communication to encourage producer buy-in and long-term implementation of agricultural research.


© 2023, Lacy Marie Barnette