Reporting data back to study participants is increasingly being integrated into exposure and biomonitoring studies. Informal science learning opportunities are valuable in environmental health literacy efforts and report back efforts are filling an important gap in these efforts.
Using the University of Arizona’s Metals Exposure Study in Homes, researchers from the Department of Soil, Water, and Environmental Science and the University of Arizona Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health provide commentary on how community-engaged exposure assessment studies, partnered with data report back efforts are providing a new informal education setting and stimulating free-choice learning. The commentary is published in the journal Environmental Health.
Participants are capitalizing on participating in research and leveraging their research experience to meet personal and community environmental health literacy goals. Observations from report back activities conducted in a mining community support the idea that reporting back biomonitoring data reinforces free-choice learning and this activity can lead to improvements in environmental health literacy.
By linking the field of informal science education to the environmental health literacy concepts, the research team demonstrates how reporting data back to participants is tapping into what an individual is intrinsically motivated to learn and how these efforts are successfully responding to community-identified education and research needs.