Science, the Media and Public Perceptions

P2 – Questionnaire:

Do you believe in Science?
1. Yes           2. No               3. Don’t know

How often do you read Science news article ?
1. 1-3 times a day       2. 1.3 times a week       3. Once a month      4. Never

Where do you usually find recent news?
1. Facebook     2. BBC News    3. Television      4. Newspaper       5. Others

Does media have impact on science?
1. Yes                 2. No                           3. Don’t know

Do you think Science is an accumulated body of factual information?
1. Yes                 2. No                           3. Don’t know

Do you think science can solve any problem or answer any question?
1. Yes                 2. No                           3. Don’t know

These questionnaires were distributed to the public and student  to find out whether they have common knowledge on science. I have asked people for their opinions whether they would want it to be confidentially so that they would answer it freely and honestly. While I have distributed the questionnaire to other students apart from science student because they already have an idea on science so I wanted to know what other students and public think about science and media.


From the graphs, it shows that 68% public believe in science, 12% of public don’t believe and 20% of them don’t have an idea. The reasons could be due to religion beliefs but over half of the public believe in science. And it shows that 60% of the public read the science news article 1-3 times a week from the press. Almost 48% of the public find the news from BBC News website which tells that the website is quite reliable and trustworthy. However, 50% of the public don’t think that science shows the factual information regardless the media has great impact on science. Since science makes people’s lives easier and rely more on science, 80% of the public think that science can solve any problem or answer any question.



Task 2 – P3, M2 & D2

                                                                          Swine Flu
The outbreak of swine flu started to get the media’s attention, with constant news updates and top story status as scientists and the media tried to understand the potential threat posed by the virus. The media have great impact on public perceptions. News coverage of the swine flu pandemic is likely to have influenced public perception and understanding as the media are a key source for health related information.

Different mediums report the same topic differently depending on their audience. From the BBC news they presented the article in more details on the Swine flu. They talked about the background of swine flu and antibodies to fight against the disease. They interacted more with the public and concern about their opinions which raise awareness to the public. However, in other science article – Popular Science,  they talked about the background of swine flu and how it affects the global perceptions. And the article also related it with government’s perspectives on how the disease has affected the economy and public health.

The swine flu pandemic has impact on a large number of people across the globe. The huge death tolls in the UK due to swine flu resulted in unnecessary panic about the disease and its potential threat on the population. The media have a part to play in spreading information about swine flu.
In newspaper article shows the potential threat caused by swine flu influencing public perceptions. Outbreaks in swine as common and cause significant economic losses. The disease could cause economic losses in meat industry, while it could cost the vaccine companies negatively impact public health because it interferes with the timing of deploying sufficient measures to prevent the pandemic from getting out of control.

The media tend to focus more on rare and dramatic events. When media shows vast numbers of headlines or coverages in the press, people tend to focus on it and perceive it as a real threat. This raises concerns regarding how people view their own health, understand the disease and how they treat themselves.

References:                                                                                  (20-11-2014)

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