What do the Swiss think about scientific issues? How do different information sources – from the mass media, Facebook and Twitter to family and friends – influence the Swiss’ perceptions of science? These are the guiding questions of the “WissensCHaftsbarometer Schweiz”, i.e. Science Barometer Switzerland.

The Science Barometer Switzerland analyzes through which media, in which form and how often the Swiss come in contact with scientific issues, and whether and how this affects their scientific knowledge as well as their opinions regarding science. The project will survey a representative sample of the Swiss population every three years, interviewing 1000 Swiss citizens aged 15 years and older in the German, the French, and the Italian speaking regions of the country.

On the one hand, the survey will gather information about the usage of different information sources, asking how often respondents encounter scientific issues in newspapers, radio and television, and how often they look for scientific issues on the internet and in social media. Furthermore, it asks how often the Swiss go to science museums, as well as how often they speak about scientific topics with family and friends. In addition, it assesses how credible, comprehensible and useful respondents judge these different sources of information.

On the other hand, the Science Barometer Switzerland measures the Swiss’ scientific knowledge and their attitudes towards science. Based on these dimensions, it will connect patterns of information behaviour and public opinions about science in explanatory models.

The Science Barometer Switzerland is funded by the Gebert Rüf Foundation, the Mercator Foundation Switzerland and the University of Zurich’s Communications Department (IPMZ). The project is carried out by the department “Science, Crisis and Risk Communication” of IPMZ.