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Science barometer 2016

The 2016 Wissenschaftsbarometer confirms several findings of previous survey waves including the desire to be more involved in decision making in science and research. About 40 per cent of participants said that it was important to them to be involved in these decisions. The general interest in science was found to be increasing slightly: in 2016 41 per cent of respondents gave a positive response to this question, compared with 33 per cent of respondents in 2014.

Detailed questions on trust in science reveal that it varies with topic – only 17 per cent of respondents trust scientists on green genetic engineering (in plants) whereas 50 per cent trust them on renewable energy. On the whole the influence of science on politics was seen as too small, with only 18 per cent of respondents finding the current level of influence perfect. 

Current issues: refugees and migration

In recent months the refugee crisis has been a major theme in the German news media. Have scientific findings on refugees and integration been represented in the media? Not enough, says 73 per cent of the German population. This view was seen across different levels of education with only a quarter of respondents finding that researchers are sufficiently represented in media coverage. 

Methods and project background

The results of the science barometer 2016 are based on telephone interviews (land line) conducted by the social research firm TNS Emnid. Since the data was subjected to post-stratification weighting the results can be generalised to the German population aged over 14 years. 

Whilst in English the term ‘science’ is mostly used to refer to natural sciences, the German term ‘Wissenschaft’ refers to natural sciences as well as humanities and social sciences. The results presented here therefore apply for all fields of academic research (this was also stated in a short clarification by the interviewer at the beginning of the interview). 

The science barometer 2016 was funded by the Philip Morris Stiftung and methodological advice was provided by GESIS – Leibniz-Institute for the Social Sciences. Detailed results of the science barometer are available in German.

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