Changing the Conversation Report

  • AuthorCommittee on Public Understanding of Engineering Messages, National Academy of Engineering
  • TitleChanging the Conversation: Messages for Improving Public Understanding of Engineering
  • PublisherNational Academies Press
  • ISBN978-0-309-11934-4

Changing the Conversation: Messages for Improving Public Understanding of Engineering is the product of a two-year project by the National Academy of Engineering. Published in 2008, the report offers tested messages and tag lines that reposition engineering as a satisfying profession that involves creative ideas and teamwork not just personal benefits and technical skills. It also recommends strategies and tools that the engineering community may use to conduct more effective outreach. The Changing the Conversation project was the first-ever effort to use market research techniques to try to improve the public image of the engineering profession.

The report argues that encouraging young people to make a difference in the world through an engineering career is more likely to attract them than emphasizing the challenge of math and science skills. It urges the engineering community to begin using tested messages in a coordinated communications strategy. More detailed information on the messages that were found to be most successful can be found in the Messages to Use section.

The project was sponsored by the National Science Foundation with additional support from the Georgia Institute of Technology.