Dr Merryn McKinnon

BSc Hons (Marine Science), Grad Dip (Sci Comm), Masters Journalism, PhD (Sci Comm)
Lecturer
Honours Convener

Dr Merryn McKinnon's original degree was in marine science where, after the novelty of moving intertidal snails with a paint scraper wore off, she discovered that talking about her research to other people brought her far closer to her conservation goals than her actual project ever could.

This led her to the field of science communication where she has stayed ever since, working in a range of roles and countries. Merryn enjoys the diverse issues science communication allows her to explore, applying her innovative thinking and problem solving skills.

Merryn's research contributes to a better understanding of the relationship between science, media and publics. She conducts research which explores why publics react and respond to scientific issues the way they do in a variety of different disciplines including public health, climate and conservation science. She is actively developing a research program exploring the influence of gender in STEM, especially STEM communication, and collating evidence of how effective initiatives to support gender equity actually are – a largely undeveloped area of research in Australia and internationally.mShe was the lead researcher for the Decadal Plan for Women in STEM, published by the Academy of Science and the Academy of Technology and Engineering (Applied) and is actively involved in developing and researching effective mechanisms to enhance and support equity and diversity in STEM.

Dr McKinnon has conducted qualitative and quantitative research nationally and internationally, developing her experience through both non-academic and academic roles, including as a private consultant, conducting evaluations of programs, events and courses with varied audiences.

Research interests

  • The relationship between science, publics and the media;
  • Public engagement in science inlcuding influences on beliefs and perceptions of science;
  • Factors affecting interpretation and understanding of communication messages;
  • The impact of science communication training and activities with a particular focus on gender;
  • Diversity and inclusion in STEM disciplines
  • Mitchell, M & McKinnon, M 2019, ''Human' or 'objective' faces of science? Gender stereotypes and the representation of scientists in the media', Public Understanding of Science, vol. 28, no. 2, pp. 177-190.
  • McKinnon, M, Howes, J, Leach, A et al 2018, 'Perils and positives of science journalism in Australia', Public Understanding of Science, vol. 27, no. 5, pp. 562-577pp.
  • Dunn, M & McKinnon, M 2018, 'How can university sexual health promotion events reach those most at risk? A cross-sectional study', Sexual Health, vol. 15, no. 4, pp. 304-311.
  • McKinnon, M, Ahmad, M, Bongers, M et al 2018, 'Media coverage of lethal control: A case study of kangaroo culling in the Australian Capital Territory', Human Dimensions of Wildlife, vol. 23, no. 1, pp. 90-99.
  • Rowbotham, S, McKinnon, M, Leach, J & Lamberts, R 2017, 'Does citizen science have the capacity to transform population health science? [IN PRESS]', Critical Public Health, vol. Online, pp. 1-12.
  • McKinnon, M & Vos, J 2016, 'Crossing a Threshold', in M C A van der Sanden and M J de Vries (ed.), Science and Technology Education and Communication: Seeking Synergy, Sense Publishers, Rotterdam, pp. 27-45pp.
  • McKinnon, M & Bryant, C 2017, 'Thirty Years of a Science Communication Course in Australia: Genesis and Evolution of a Degree', Science Communication, vol. 39, no. 2, pp. 169-194pp.
  • McKinnon, M & Orthia, LA 2017, 'Vaccination communication strategies: What have we learned, and lost, in 200 years?', Journal of Science Communication, vol. 16, no. 3, A08.
  • McKinnon, M, Semmens, D, Moon, B et al 2016, 'Science, Twitter and election campaigns: Tracking #auspol in the Australian federal elections', Journal of Science Communication, vol. 15, no. 6, pp. 22pp.
  • McKinnon, M & Perera, P 2015, 'The Big Picture: Pre-service teachers' perceptions of 'expert' science teachers', Teaching Science, vol. 61, no. 4, pp. 32-45pp.
  • McKinnon, M & Vos, J 2015, 'Engagement as a Threshold Concept for Science Education and Science Communication', International Journal of Science Education. Part B: Communication and Public Engagement, 5:4. pp 297 - 318.
  • McGillion, C & McKinnon, M 2014, 'Participatory Theater as a Science Communication Tool in Timor Leste', Science Communication, vol. 36, no. 4, pp. 502-510.
  • McKinnon, M 2014, 'Layperson's guide to pandemics', Medical Journal of Australia, vol. 200, no. 5, p. 297.
  • McKinnon, M, Orthia, LA, Grant, WJ & Lamberts, R 2014, 'Real-world assessment as an integral component of an undergraduate science communication program', International Journal of Innovation in Science and Mathematics Education, vol. 22, no. 5, pp. 1-13.
  • McKinnon, M, Moussa-Inaty, J & Barza, L 2014, 'Science teaching self-efficacy of culturally foreign teachers: A baseline study in Abu Dhabi', International Journal of Educational Research, vol. 66, pp. 78-89.
  • McKinnon, M & Lamberts, R 2014 'Influencing science teaching self-efficacy beliefs of primary school teachers: a longitudinal case study'. International Journal of Science Education Part B: Communication and Public Engagement, vol. 4, no. 2, pp. 172 - 194.
  • McKinnon, M, Barza, L & Moussa-Inaty, J 2013, 'Public versus private education in primary science: The case of Abu Dhabi schools', International Journal of Educational Research, vol. 62, pp. 51-61.
  • Thomas, J, Raynor, M & McKinnon, M 2014, 'Academic integrity and oral examination: an Arabian Gulf perspective', Innovations in Education and Teaching International, vol. 51, no. 5, pp. 533-543.

Merryn is the lecturer for Science in the Media (SCOM2016/6016), Health Promotion and Protection (POPH8115), Health Promotion Principles and Practice (SCOM3033) and convenes the Honours program.

She is also a regular presenter of some of CPAS's short courses.