Disinformation and Science: Report of an investigation into gullibility of false science news in central European countries

Study 04-09-2020

The main aim of this report is to present and discuss the results of a survey concerning perspectives on fake news among undergraduate university students in central and eastern Europe. The survey was carried out in spring 2020 during the coronavirus pandemic, using an online questionnaire. Misinformation is always troubling, especially in science. Scientists feel distressed when public understanding diverges from the truth. Intentional disinformation (fake news), however, is not always the cause of misinformation. The report discusses the causes related to social trust and types of media consumption. The sample of the study consisted of several hundred bachelors or masters students from each participating country. Half of the students were recruited from social sciences areas of study and the other half of the sample were recruited from natural sciences areas. The method of approaching the students was online questioning. One university was chosen from each participating country, and the link to the questionnaire was sent by that university's administration to the students. The response to the questionnaire was naturally anonymous and voluntary.

External author