Title: Public perception and Understanding of Geoscience and Related Activities
Researchers: Dr Teresa Hooks, Dr Geertje Schuitema
Public perception of geoscience activities differs strongly (GSI, 2015), and is likely to be based on the different characteristics of the activities (e.g., visibility, invasiveness) but also on the public’s understanding of related geoscience issues (e.g., perceived costs/ benefits, perceived risks). The assessment of these different factors in terms of likelihood important are assumed to form people’s attitudes (i.e., the overall evaluation) of the activities.
The first aim of this project is to systematically study the public’s perception and understanding of geosciences and what underlies these attitudes. An improved understanding will underpin considerations of public acceptance of these activities and future research on public perception of geoscience projects.
The second aim is to compare the public’s understanding with that of experts. A better understanding how and why experts, and the public perceive different activities, communication between them is likely to be facilitated. The project has a qualitative and quantitative part that complements each other.
Aims and objectives
• Map geological activities; categorize activities on various aspects that influence public perception and understanding based on 1. literature review 2. interviews with experts;
• Understand what the most important underlying factors are that influence public perception of geological activities (via interviews and series of surveys study among general public).
• Understand what the most important underlying factors that explain experts’ perception of geological activities (via interviews).
• Based on the empirical results, provide guidelines to improve communication between the public and geoscientists. These guidelines are aimed to be translated in a communication platform (form depending on the results) and in workshops.
• The results of this project provide a backdrop to, and complement, all other research projects in the Public Perception and Understanding Cluster.