Dr Teresa Hooks
- Postdoctoral Researcher
Dr. Teresa Hooks is a postdoctoral research fellow at the UCD Business School and iCRAG who works in the area of public perception. Teresa was a Walsh Fellow PhD candidate based at the Department of Food Business and Development in University College Cork (UCC) and the Rural Economy and Development Programme (REDP), Teagasc Mellows Campus, Athenry in 2017 before joining UCD to work in the area of public perception under the supervision of Dr. Geertje Schuitema and Prof. Frank McDermott.
Teresa currently conducts research on two projects in the area of public perception. The first project deals with public perception of groundwater among water users in order to develop insights as to how water users perceive contamination risks, focusing particularly on private well owners. The second project focuses on the public perception of the geosciences and its associated geological activities e.g. mining here in Ireland.
Public opinion on the geosciences and its associated activities varies considerably, ranging from relatively positive to strongly negative. The reasons underlying public perceptions are poorly defined, therefore, this project aims to explore the public perception and understanding (PPU) of geosciences and its related activities in Ireland. Fundamental aspects including the public and expert’s assessment of risk, estimate of benefits and acceptance levels, among other aspects will be explored throughout the project. Findings from this study will provide an improved understanding of public acceptance of such activities in Ireland and will inform interventions and tools that may be used going forward to enhance communication between the public and experts.
Project title: Public perception and Understanding of Geoscience and Related Activities
Groundwater is important in Ireland comprising 20-25% of all drinking water supplies. In areas where no public or group water schemes exist, groundwater is often the only source of drinking water extracted through the use of private wells. While rural populations play an important role in maintaining groundwater quality, there is very little knowledge about the public perception of groundwater and related issues in Ireland among them or any other water users. The quality of groundwater that feeds into public supplies is gradually improving (EPA, 2015), yet there are still major concerns about water quality in private wells, which are currently unregulated and therefore, unmonitored. It is estimated that there are over 170,000 private wells in Ireland (EPA, 2017) and it is estimated that up to 30% of these private wells are contaminated with human or animal waste (EPA, 2010). Private well owners are generally very familiar with their water systems, yet they tend not to display increased awareness of contamination risks and are often biased against them (Suvedi and Krueger, 2000; Hynds et al., 2013). Therefore, this project aims to explore how private well owners perceive contamination risks and how these differ between the various water supplies.
- Postdoctoral Researcher
- Public Perception & Understanding