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Communication role on perception and beliefs of EU Citizens about Science

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - CONCISE (Communication role on perception and beliefs of EU Citizens about Science)

Reporting period: 2018-12-01 to 2019-08-31

With the advent of multiple communication channels in present-day society, measuring the impact of science-related news stories on the audience is not an easy task. Although it is possible to identify different audiences and the reach of science-related news stories, what about their impact or how they might change the public’s perception of a given reality? And what about fake news and misinformation, what impact those two have?

Furthermore, after the advent of massive social networks, such as Facebook (2004) and Twitter (2006), this situation has changed fundamentally. At present, the reach of traditional media has dropped, thus making it difficult to assess their impact on the general public. Even when a scientific issue is covered in a large number of media, this does not necessarily mean that it reaches broad audiences and has a significant impact on them.

CONCISE is working on organizing European citizen wide-debates on the social perception toward science information, involving the whole value chain of stakeholders, including media outlets, policymakers, scientists, businesses and science communicators. The project aims at providing qualitative knowledge on the sources and channels by which EU citizens get their science-related experience. And how this knowledge influences their beliefs, opinions, and perceptions of science-related issues. For this purpose, CONCISE will explore the understanding of 500 citizens, representing the 500 million EU citizens, about four controversial topics: vaccines, complementary and alternative medicine use (CAM), genetically modified organisms, and climate change.
During the first nine months of the project, CONCISE has been organizing the citizen consultations in five countries (Italy, Poland, Slovakia, Spain, and Portugal). The citizen's understanding and position on the four scientific topics will be evaluated, validated, compared and analyzed. A semantic map to guide the analysis has been prepared as well. Citizen opinions will be used to produce indicators that will help have more direct and fruitful communication on science issues, avoiding discourses that degenerate in distrust and misunderstandings.
CONCISE results will be scalable, and the methodology could be applied to other countries and in and beyond the EU, in order to increase the uptake of science in terms of quality and quantity by the general public.
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