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Report on Internet as Resource for Science

More and more people rely on the internet as their primary source for news and information about science and 87% of online users have at one time used the internet to carry out research on a scientific topic or concept. Those findings come from a national survey conducted in the United States by the Pew Internet & American Life Project in collaboration with the Exploratorium, a science museum and science-education centre in San Francisco, California.

People’s attitudes about science, their level of scientific knowledge, and the attention they pay to scientific developments have long been a topic of interest in the scientific community.
Released on 20 November 2006, this survey entitled "The Internet as a Resource for News and Information about Science" addresses the issue of the convenience of getting scientific material on the web which opens doors to better attitudes and understanding of science.

This report explores questions including:
- Is there any connection between getting science information via the internet and attitudes about science and scientific research?
- Does the web play a convincing role for users, letting them check scientific facts, verify claims about science, or dig deeper into scientific controversies?

This report is based on the findings of a daily tracking survey on Americans' use of the internet. Respondents were asked a series of questions on their attitudes about science, how well they view their understanding science and how closely they follow progresses in science. They were also invited to rate their level of interest in a number of different scientific topics and answer specific questions about the resources people may use to learn about science – museums, TV, magazines, and the internet.

Among the main results of this study are:
- The internet is the source to which people would turn first if they need information on a specific scientific topic.
- People use the internet extensively to learn about science – for research, homework, satisfying curiosity, and looking for evidence about scientific propositions.
- Consumers of online science information often try to check the accuracy of scientific claims.
- Convenience plays a large role in drawing people to the internet for science information.
- Search engines are far and away the most popular source for beginning science research among users who say they would turn first to the internet to get more information about a specific topic.
- Half of all internet users have been to a website which specialises in scientific content.
- Science websites and science museums may serve effectively as portals to one another.

Download here the full report

Read more about:
The Pew Internet & American Life Project
The Exploratorium

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