Few studies have assessed whether populations can be divided into segments with different perceptions of science. We provide such an analysis and assess whether these segments exhibit specific patterns of media and information use. Based on representative survey data from Switzerland, we use latent class analysis to reconstruct four segments: the “Sciencephiles,” with strong interest for science, extensive knowledge, and a pronounced belief in its potential, who use a variety of sources intensively; the “Critically Interested,” also with strong interest and support for science but with less trust in it, who use similar sources but are more cautious toward them; the “Passive Supporters” with moderate levels of interest, trust, and knowledge and tempered perceptions of science, who use fewer sources; and the “Disengaged,” who are not interested in science, do not know much about it, harbor critical views toward it, and encounter it—if at all—mostly through television.
Schäfer, M.S., Füchslin, T., Metag, J., Kristiansen, S., & Rauchfleisch, A. (2018). 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. doi:10.1177/0963662517752886. Link to article