Publications · June 9, 2022

Communicating COVID-19 Uncertainty

Pandemics are characterized by extreme uncertainty and effective communication is critical to help the public manage this uncertainty. We summarized scholarship on public communication related to uncertainty during the COVID-19 pandemic, synthesizing insights published from January 2020–February 2022. We reviewed key findings and arguments from 39 empirical papers and 21 nonempirical papers with a particular focus on the theories and concepts that underpinned them. While this work shed light on elements of effective communication, conceptual and operational treatments of uncertainty varied considerably, and less than half of papers used a theory to analyze or discuss uncertainty-related communication. In all, this review highlights opportunities to strengthen our field’s theoretical and practical contributions to public communication in uncertain situations.

The paper is just out in Annals of the ICA and you can find a copy here.