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Oct 14, 2019 Article
Telling it straight — a focus group study on narratives affecting public confidence in science

by Fredrik Brounéus, Maria Lindholm and Gustav Bohlin

Public confidence in research is important for scientific results to achieve societal impact. Swedish surveys suggest consistent but differing levels of confidence in different research areas. Thus, certain research-related factors can be assumed to have a decisive influence on confidence levels. This focus-group study explores the role of different narratives in shaping public confidence in research. Findings include four themes with potential to increase or decrease public confidence: Person, Process, Product and Presentation. The results offer insights as to how public confidence in research is formed and may give researchers agency in promoting confidence through their communication activities.

Volume 18 • Issue 05 • 2019 • Special Issue: Stories in Science Communication, 2019