For the knowledge society to become a reality, its citizens must be interested and engaged in the production of knowledge – that is, in science and research. How people view knowledge, research and researchers is therefore of vital importance not only for the research community but also for society as a whole.
The Swedish non-profit association VA (Public & Science) has monitored public attitudes to science and research for several years. As well as the public in general, these studies have focused on attitudes within specific groups, such as politicians, journalists, teachers and business leaders. In addition VA has studied how researchers value public engagement and how they feel about communicating with the public at large.
These studies have shown clear differences in attitudes to scientific research between people with different levels of education and between different social classes. In this latest study, Science & Values, VA has looked into these differences in depth and analysed the findings for underlying factors.
This study, Science & Values, has been published in three parts (available online in Swedish):
- Vetenskap att tro på?, focussing on beliefs and values.
- Kunskap i en klass för sig?, focussing on political values and class.
- Känsla för kunskap – a book containing nine interviews with leading researchers, opinion formers and representatives from different parts of society.
This report summarizes in English the results, conclusions and recommendations of all three parts of the study.
Authors: Cissi Askwall & Karin Hermansson
Translation: Esther Crooks & Diane Högsta
Published: September 2010
Number of pages: 18
The study was funded by, the Riksbankens Jubileumsfond, the Torsten and Ragnar Söderberg Foundations and the Swedish Council for Working Life and Social Research (FAS).