Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

High Number of Science Enthusiasts in Switzerland

05.02.2018

When it comes to attitudes toward science and research, Swiss people fall into four distinct categories ranging from enthusiasts (28 percent) to completely uninterested (13 percent). Despite many differences between them, people in all categories support the promotion of science and research, reveals a study by the universities of Zurich and Fribourg.

The Science Barometer Switzerland published in 2016 showed a clear picture: Swiss people are interested in science and research, and think they are worth supporting. “This main finding doesn’t mean, however, that all Swiss people have the same attitude toward science.


The four distinct categories.

UZH

A differentiated picture emerges by dividing the population into groups,” explains Julia Metag, professor at the University of Fribourg. She and a team of four researchers have reconstructed these groups in a newly published study and have discovered four types of Swiss people with differing attitudes toward science.

Enthusiasts and critically interested

Two of these types are very interested in science. The most interested, the “Sciencephiles,” say science plays an important role in their life. They are convinced not only that knowledge is very useful, but also that it can and will solve many problems. The “Sciencephiles” make up around 28 percent of the population, are mostly male, aged on average 47, and have a high level of education.

The second group (17 percent) are also very interested in science, but take a more critical position. The “Critically Interested” think that clear research constraints and boundaries need to be established in science due to the accompanying moral and ethical issues. But despite their skepticism, they are still more strongly in favor of providing public support for science than the average Swiss person.

Largest group are “Passive Supporters”

Nearly 42 percent of the population belong to the largest group: the “Passive Supporters”. These types of people generally trust science and think that, on the whole, it improves our lives. However, they are not particularly interested in finding out more about science, let alone taking part in a citizen science project. The majority of this group are female and their average age is 46.

The least common type – only around 13 percent of the population – are the “Disengaged.” Science virtually doesn’t play any role in their lives and therefore they do not think that there is any need to be informed about scientific matters. Their trust in science is the lowest of all types, and they also think that society relies too heavily on scientific research. Accordingly, this group are least in favor of public support for science and research. However, they do not actively believe it should not be supported, but rather are neutral about supporting it. Women also make up the majority of this group, and their average age is 45.

Different types, different media

“We constructed these types by looking at people’s attitudes towards science and research. However, if we look at media consumption, we can also see systematic differences between the types,” explains Tobias Füchslin, communications researcher at UZH.

The differences are the most clear cut in the variety of media channels used by the different types. The two types with the most interest in science – “Sciencephiles” and “Critically Interested” – use many channels and come into contact with science through television, radio, and newspapers. But more often they use the internet and actively inform themselves via Wikipedia and scientific websites. The “Disengaged,” however, hardly ever come into contact with science through their media consumption. With one exception: the radio and TV programs offered by the SRF reach this group just as often as the other three types.

Literature:

Mike Schäfer, Tobias Füchslin, Julia Metag, Silje Kristiansen, Arian Rauchfleisch. The different audiences of science communication: A segmentation analysis of the Swiss population’s perceptions of science and their information and media use patterns. Public Understanding of Science. January XX, 2018. DOI: 10.1177/0963662517752886

Background to the project

The long-term project “Science Barometer Switzerland” examines what Swiss people think about scientific matters, and how various information sources from mass media, to social media such as Facebook and Twitter, and family and friends influence people’s perception of and trust in science.

A representative telephone survey of the Swiss population is undertaken every three years in order to understand the changing climate of science communication and its audience. In 2016, 1,051 people were questioned – 651 in German-speaking Switzerland, 200 in western Switzerland, and 200 in Ticino.

Weitere Informationen:

http://www.media.uzh.ch/en/Press-Releases/2018/Science-Enthusiasts-.html

Beat Müller | Universität Zürich

More articles from Communications Media:

nachricht New cruise ship “Mein Schiff 1” features Fraunhofer 3D sound on board
05.09.2018 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Digitale Medientechnologie IDMT

nachricht Small enclosure, big sound, clear speech
31.08.2018 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Digitale Medientechnologie IDMT

All articles from Communications Media >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Stellar cartography

The Potsdam Echelle Polarimetric and Spectroscopic Instrument (PEPSI) at the Large Binocular Telescope (LBT) in Arizona released its first image of the surface magnetic field of another star. In a paper in the European journal Astronomy & Astrophysics, the PEPSI team presents a Zeeman- Doppler-Image of the surface of the magnetically active star II Pegasi.

A special technique allows astronomers to resolve the surfaces of faraway stars. Those are otherwise only seen as point sources, even in the largest telescopes...

Im Focus: Heading towards a tsunami of light

Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology and the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, have proposed a way to create a completely new source of radiation. Ultra-intense light pulses consist of the motion of a single wave and can be described as a tsunami of light. The strong wave can be used to study interactions between matter and light in a unique way. Their research is now published in the scientific journal Physical Review Letters.

"This source of radiation lets us look at reality through a new angle - it is like twisting a mirror and discovering something completely different," says...

Im Focus: Revealing the secret of the vacuum for the first time

New research group at the University of Jena combines theory and experiment to demonstrate for the first time certain physical processes in a quantum vacuum

For most people, a vacuum is an empty space. Quantum physics, on the other hand, assumes that even in this lowest-energy state, particles and antiparticles...

Im Focus: Sussex scientists one step closer to a clock that could replace GPS and Galileo

Physicists in the EPic Lab at University of Sussex make crucial development in global race to develop a portable atomic clock

Scientists in the Emergent Photonics Lab (EPic Lab) at the University of Sussex have made a breakthrough to a crucial element of an atomic clock - devices...

Im Focus: Sensing shakes

A new way to sense earthquakes could help improve early warning systems

Every year earthquakes worldwide claim hundreds or even thousands of lives. Forewarning allows people to head for safety and a matter of seconds could spell...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

International Modelica Conference with 330 visitors from 21 countries at OTH Regensburg

11.03.2019 | Event News

Selection Completed: 580 Young Scientists from 88 Countries at the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting

01.03.2019 | Event News

LightMAT 2019 – 3rd International Conference on Light Materials – Science and Technology

28.02.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

Levitating objects with light

19.03.2019 | Physics and Astronomy

New technique for in-cell distance determination

19.03.2019 | Life Sciences

Stellar cartography

19.03.2019 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>