New 'state of science index' - "what the world thinks about science" plus science communication guide
25 March 2019
Public Engagement - report
In its second year, the 3M State of Science Index explores global attitudes towards science.
It echoes other other similar survey that show that the public are for the most part interested in science, think it's important and think researchers should share what they're doing. It's main recommendation lies around taking action to make science more relatable - so showing what the potential impacts are, how science is helping solve the world's challenges, and also presented in ways that show science in our everyday lives.
The survey found a three point increase from last year's results, in levels of 'sceptical' adults. Interestingly, this is the first time they've unpicked this to ask 'why?' finding that many people state that science will not help them in their daily lives, such as to put food on the table, earn more money, make life easier for example, with a concerning but relatively low level of people saying they do not trust science (7%) or they do not 'believe in science' (5%). Digging even further to the reasoning behind why people are sceptical of science, most point to disagreements between scientists (38%) or their own questioning nature (33%), their distrust of of things they don't understand (29%), whilst others say that science is driven by other agendas, such as corporate (25%) or government (24%).
When asked what it might take to increase interest in science, most people responded that they wanted science to be presented in a way that was more relatable to their every day lives, and otherwise going to make a difference.
We always suggest you think about the bigger picture of your research to make sure you can address the 'so what?' question, so it's nice for that to be borne out by what the public actually want.
There are even more questions relates to careers aspirations, science ownership and advocacy and science beliefs.
You can explore all of the data, including looking at differences between different age groups, income levels, where they live, and so on, plus read in to their methodology.
They have also produced a storytelling for scientists toolkit to help you communicate your research.
The guide provides guidance and examples of different ways to help make your science more relatable, with an FAQ style guide to overcoming common challenges.
1. Put a human face on what you do
2. Create dramatic tension
3. Connect with your audience
4. Be concise and use meaningful details
5. Give an authentic delivery