Work­shop "Sur­­­vey Cli­­­ma­­­te and Trust in Sci­en­­­ti­­­fic Sur­­­veys – Re­­­cent De­­­ve­­­lop­­­ments and Con­­­tro­­­ver­­­­­si­al Is­­­su­es"
Tuesday 12:30 – 17:30
Wednesday 9:30 – 16:00
Registration possible until 21 September 2022

In our complex and interconnected world, there is a strong need for databased scientific approaches to solving diverse local as well as global problems. However, to transform scientific recommendations successfully into policy measures, societal trust in scientific methods and results is required. Yet, mistrust toward scientific results seems to be on the rise in recent years. A prominent example is the disbelief in the severity of and acceptance of scientific measures against the coronavirus in some societal groups around the globe. In a democracy, surveys can be an important tool for measuring public opinion and informing political decision-makers about the views of their constituents. Yet, decreasing survey participation, attempts to manipulate polls, and misleading accusations of “fake polls” as well as polls carried out not in accordance with established scientific standards, put the validity of the gathered data in jeopardy. If the survey climate continues to be on the decline, this will have drastic consequences for survey-based research since both policymakers as well as the recipients of political interventions have to believe in the accuracy of the data. Therefore, as long as surveys remain the most used scientific method of getting a broad picture of public opinion within a democratic society, researchers may need to worry at least as much about whether results of surveys will be recognized and used for evidence-based policymaking as about the accuracy of survey data.

Against this background, this two-day workshop aims to bring together current conceptual and empirical research on the following topics:

Survey Climate: What is the current state of the survey climate? What caused changes? What can be done to foster a positive survey climate, both in terms of increasing survey participation and increasing the quality of survey data?

Trust in Surveys: What can be done to increase trust in surveys and their results? Which are determinants of participation and giving truthful answers that can be used to strengthen the quality of survey data? How is declining trust in surveys related to the declining trust in science?

Surveys and Society: If and how is political participation linked to trust in science and the generalized attitudes towards surveys? What is the role of surveys in the democratic process? Can process-based data (e.g., digital trace data) help to mitigate the survey climate problem?

Open Session: All related issues in the broader context of this workshop’s theme are welcome, too.

Prof. em. Dr. Edith de Leeuw (Utrecht University)
Prof. Dr. Michael Traugott (University of Michigan)

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