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Department of Communication and Media Research Science Communication

New publication: Public Understanding of Science

Scholars of science communication have identified population segments that differ in their perceptions of and attitudes toward science as well as in their patterns of science-related information and media use. So far, however, most of these studies employed quantitative, standardized methods and their descriptions could not go into qualitative detail. This study fills this gap: It delivers an in-depth description of members of four audience segments that were identified in a prior, representative survey in Switzerland. Forty-one of these survey respondents, representing different segments, were asked to note their encounters with science in smartphone-based diaries, and diary entries were discussed in qualitative follow-up interviews. Results show that the segments differ in their criteria for identifying science, expectations toward science, and their reasons to use science communication.

Koch, C., Saner, M., Schäfer, M.S., Herrmann-Giovanelli, I., & Metag, J. (2019). “Space means Science, unless it’s about Star Wars”: A qualitative assessment of science communication audience segments. Public Understanding of Science. Advance online publication. doi:10.1177/0963662519881938