Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Pew Research Center's "Major Gaps Between the Public, Scientists on Key Issues"

This report from Pew  highlights the differences in opinions between the average American versus members of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). For various topics, this graph reports the percentage of average Americans or AAAS members that endorse each science related issues as well as the gap between the two groups. Below, the yellow dots indicate the percentage of scientists that have a positive view of the issue and the blue indicate the same data for an average American.

If you click on any given issue, you see more detailed information on the data.

In addition to the interactive data, this report by Funk and Rainie summarizes the main findings. You can also access the original report of this data (which contains additional information about public perception of the sciences and scientists).

This could be a good tool for a research methods/statistics class in order to convince students that learning about the rigors of the scientific method/hypothesis testing do change the way people evaluate information. It is also a good example of simple descriptive data that students can play with via the interactive interface.