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The credibility of scientific communication sources regarding climate change: a population-based survey experiment

Agricultural Communications Documentation Center (ACDC)
Sanz-Menéndez, Luis (main author), Cruz-Castro, Laura (author)
Online journal article
Publication Date:
SAGE Journals
Agricultural Communications Documentation Center, Funk Library, University of Illinois
Subject Term:
credibility (sources), information issues, information sources, scientific communication, trust, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), climate change, Spain (Europe), public understanding
20 pages., via online journal., This article analyses whether different institutional sources of scientific information have an impact on its credibility. Through a population-based survey experiment of a national representative sample of the Spanish public, we measure the credibility that citizens attribute to scientific information on the evolution of CO2 emissions disclosed by different institutional sources (business associations, government, non-government environmental organisations, international bodies and national research institutions). The findings show that an institutional credibility gap exists in science communication. We also investigate the factors accounting for the credibility of the different institutional sources by examining variables related to knowledge, interest, trust, reputation, deference, attitudes, values and personal characteristics. Exploratory regression analyses reveal that identical variables can produce different effects on the credibility of scientific information, depending on the institutional source to which it is attributed.