ECPR

Install the app

Install this application on your home screen for quick and easy access when you’re on the go.

Just tap Share then “Add to Home Screen”

ECPR

Install the app

Install this application on your home screen for quick and easy access when you’re on the go.

Just tap Share then “Add to Home Screen”

Back to Paper Details

Combining qualitative and quantitative survey data to explore public perceptions of biomedical research

Nick Allum
University of Essex
Nick Allum
University of Essex
Paul Stoneman
University of Southampton
Patrick Sturgis
University of Southampton
Open Panel

Abstract

The primary method by which social scientists describe public attitudes to science is to display marginals from quantitative variables and to utilise multivariate techniques to explain the variation observed. In this paper, we propose a different approach that complements quantitative based descriptions. By delving into the images and key concepts people make use of when thinking about biomedical science and scientific issues, we argue that greater insights can be offered on the cognitive and psychological processes at work, and can cast light light on the extent to which expressed opinions are the result of deliberation or simply generated on the fly during an interview. This approach is made possible by using data from the 2010 Wellcome Monitor, which in addition to standard quantitative variables, contains open ended questions. By focusing on the verbatim responses generated from such questions we use the ALCESTE software to analyse any underlying patterns in these responses. Specifically, we probe respondents'' understanding of the term ''medical research'' and analyse which types of individuals use certain designated keywords in context (KWIC) in their responses. Using the statistical capabilities of ALCESTE, we then considered how these KWIC cluster to reveal different types of narratives. Some conclusions are drawn for the utility of this approach for evaluating public engagement with biomedical science.