View from the US: marchers want to promote and defend science

20 Apr 2017 | News
A survey of 1,040 people who intend to March for Science shows the top four reasons are: encouraging policies based on science; encouraging the public to support science; opposing political attacks on science; and protesting cuts in science funding

Encouraging science-based policies and defending science from political attacks are strong motivators for March for Science participants, according to a survey by the University of Delaware Center for Political Communication.

The study, conducted from March 31 to April 18, surveyed 1,040 members of March for Science Facebook groups or pages about their reasons for marching in April 22 events across the US and around the globe.

Ninety three per cent of respondents said, “Opposing political attacks on the integrity of science” is very important to them as a reason for participating, 97 per cent said that “Encouraging public officials to make policies based on scientific facts and evidence” was a top priority, and 93 per cent said the same for, “Encouraging the public to support science.”

Other reasons that most respondents rated as very important included:

Protesting cuts to funding for scientific research (90 percent),

Celebrating the value of science and scientists to society (89 percent)

Promoting science education and scientific literacy among the public (86 percent).

Fewer respondents ranked “Encouraging scientists to engage the public” (70 percent) and “Encouraging diversity and inclusion in science” (68 percent) as highly. Nevertheless, solid majorities said these reasons were very important.

The survey was conducted online from March 31 to April 18. The 1,040 respondents were recruited from 81 different participating March for Science Facebook groups and pages.

Of the respondents, 82 per cent are residents of the US and 18 percent were residents of other countries. A large majority (81 per cent) are women. Half of the respondents said they considered themselves scientists.

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