As part of the Public Attitudes to Science (PAS) 2014 study, Ipsos MORI held a qualitative Day of Discovery in London earlier this month. With a 15-strong team from Ipsos MORI, they recruited over 100 members of the general public to enter the Crypt of St Martin-in-the-Fields church to spend part of their day discussing how to improve the quality of science communication. In particular, the day focused on five different questions:
- What is the best way to communicate with different segments of the public?
- Why do people feel better informed about certain topics than others?
- How can we help people better understand what scientists actually do in their work?
- How can we improve trust in science and scientists?
- What drives public support for investment in science and technology?
All these are questions that the PAS 2014 survey findings can help with, but require a qualitative approach for a more meaningful answer, as Dr Hilary Leevers, Head of Education and Learning at the Wellcome Trust and one of the observers on the day, recounts below.
It was fascinating to eavesdrop on the Day of Discovery. As an enthusiast myself, it was revealing to listen to some people speaking frankly about the more troubled or detached relationships they have with science alongside the passion of others.