Attitudes to Genomics

Summary

The aim of this research is to better understand people's attitudes to developments in genetics (genomics). It will look at the way these attitudes change, how they relate to other attitudes, what difference knowledge about genomics makes and why these attitudes are sometimes ambivalent. The research will start with a 6 month period of consultation with experts. Data will then be collected using four main strategies:

  • A nationally representative survey of attitudes towards genomics will be conducted. As well as looking at changes in attitudes, this will link attitudinal responses to people's other social and political attitudes and to demographic variables. Factual knowledge of genetics will be assessed and we will look at the relationship between knowledge and attitudes.
  • Because genomics develops so quickly, not all experts agree on "facts" about genetics. We will investigate the effects of this contested knowledge on attitudes using a panel comprising three groups of people. Two of these will receive a knowledge intervention via DVD with a third group acting as a comparison group (who receive no information).
  • This will be supplemented by qualitative research which will explore key constructions and understandings of genomic issues with three critical groups: a quota sample of people from the general population, a purposive sample of people who are affected by, or at risk of, genetic disease, and a purposive sample of interest/support and self-help/campaigning groups. Methodologically, use will be made of focus groups, individual interviews and textual analyses.
  • A series of studies where people are asked to think about different scenarios involving genetics will build on the focus group/interview work to formally assess the effects of contexts on responses.

Publications

Papers and book chapters

P Sturgis H Cooper C Fife-Schaw & R Shepherd (2004) Genomic society: emerging public opinion. In A. Park, J. Curtice, K. Thomson, C. Bromley, & M. Philips (Eds), British Social Attitudes: The 21st Report (pp. 119-145). London: Sage.

P Sturgis, H. Cooper, H. and C Fife-Schaw (2005) Attitudes to biotechnology: Estimating the opinions of a better informed public. New Genetics and Society, 24(1), 34-58.

Shepherd, R., Barnett, J., Cooper, H., Coyle, A., Moran-Ellis, J., Senior, V. & Walton, C. (2007). Towards an understanding of British public attitudes concerning human cloning. Social Science & Medicine, 65, 377-392.

Conference presentations

V Senior, J Barnett, H Cooper, A Coyle, C Fife-Schaw, J Moran-Ellis, R Shepherd, & P Sturgis (2003) Psychological and social processes underlying public attitudes towards genomics. Paper presented at the BPS Annual Conference, Bournemouth13-15 March 2003.

R Shepherd, J Barnett, H Cooper, A Coyle, C Fife-Schaw, J Moran-Ellis, V Senior & P. Sturgis (2003) Public attitudes towards advances in genomics. Paper presented at the BPS Social Psychological Section Annual Conference, London, 10-12 September 2003.

H Cooper, P Sturgis & C Fife-Schaw (2003) Attitudes to Biotechnology: estimating the opinions of a better informed public. Paper presented at the Biotech Society conference, Espoo, Finland 29-30 September 2003.

R Shepherd, J Barnett, H Cooper, A Coyle, C Fife-Schaw, J Moran-Ellis, V Senior & P. Sturgis (2003) Public attitudes towards advances in genomics. Poster presented at the 17th Conference of the European Health Psychology Society, Kos, Greece, 24-27 September 2003.

H Cooper, P. Sturgis & C Fife-Schaw (2004) Public attitudes to genomics: Headline results from the 2003 BSAS. Paper presented at the CESAGEN International Conference ‘Genomics and Society’, 2-3 March 2004.

R Shepherd (2004) Genomics and food risk perception. Invited lecture at the EUFIC Academic Workshop of Food Risk Communication, Cork, 1-2 June 2004.

P Sturgis, H Cooper, & C Fife-Schaw (2004) CAPI-based Information intervention (CIi): A new way of estimating informed opinion. Paper presented at the Sixth International Conference on Social Science Methodology, Amsterdam, 16-20 August 2004.

R Shepherd, H Cooper, C Fife-Schaw, C & P Sturgis (2005) Public attitudes to genomic technologies. Paper presented at the Innogen 'Evolution of the Life Science Industries Conference', Edinburgh, 23-25 February 2005.

R Shepherd (2005) Genomics and public attitudes. Paper presented at the 9 th European Congress of Psychology, Grenada, Spain, 3-8 July 2005.

C Fife-Schaw, H Cooper, P Sturgis & R Shepherd (2005) Growing acceptance or increasing ambivalence? Changes in the British public’s response to genetic technologies. Paper presented at the 9 th European Congress of Psychology, Grenada, Spain, 3-8 July 2005.

C Fife-Schaw, P Sturgis, H Cooper & I Brunton-Smith (2005) Estimating ‘informed opinion’: A CAPI-based information intervention (CIi). Paper presented at the 9 th European Congress of Psychology, Grenada, Spain, 3-8 July 2005.

V Senior, J Barnett & H Cooper (2005) In science we trust? An investigation of the role of trust in science and information presentation in determining public attitudes to policy for the regulation of genetic science. Paper presented at the 9 th European Congress of Psychology, Grenada, Spain, 3-8 July 2005.

C Walton & A Coyle (2005) Interfering with mother nature: invocations of the ‘naturality’ discourse in instances of resistances of genetic technologies. Paper presented at the 9 th European Congress of Psychology, Grenada, Spain, 3-8 July 2005.

Sturgis, P., Brunton-Smith, I., Cooper, H. and Fife-Schaw, C. (2004) Knowledge deficit?: the effect of science information on attitude to genomic science, Paper presented at the conference of the European Association of Survey Research, Barcelona, 18-22 July 2005.

R Shepherd (2005) Attitudes of the general public towards genomics. Paper presented at the 19 th Conference of the European Health Psychology Society conference, Galway, Ireland, 31 August - 3 September 2005.

C Fife-Schaw, H Cooper, P Sturgis & R Shepherd (2005) Do people have an overall attitude towards genomics: differentiation of attitudes according to type of application. Paper presented at the 19 th Conference of the European Health Psychology Society conference, Galway, Ireland, 31 August - 3 September 2005.

V Senior, J Barnett & Cooper (2005) In science we trust? The influence of trust and information presentation on attitudes to gene patenting and cloning. Paper presented at the 19 th Conference of the European Health Psychology Society conference, Galway, Ireland, 31 August - 3 September 2005.

A Coyle & C Walton (2005) “You’ve taken something really good and made it, you know, monstrous”: Lay negotiations of the permissibility of pre-implantation genetic diagnosis. Paper presented at the 19th Conference of the European Health Psychology Society conference, Galway, Ireland, 31 August - 3 September 2005.

J Barnett, H Cooper, & V Senior (2005) Talking the same language? The challenges and consequences of public involvement in modern genetic science. Paper presented at the Society for Risk Analysis Europe conference, Como, 12-14 September 2005.

R Shepherd (2005) Are members of the public really negative about genetic technologies? Invited seminar at the ESRC Centre for Genomics in Society (Egenis), Exeter University, 29 November 2005.

R Shepherd, P Sturgis, H Cooper, & I Brunton-Smith (2005) Public acceptance of genomic technologies: the role of values. Paper presented at the Society for Risk Analysis conference, Orlando, 4-7 December 2005.

R Shepherd (2006) Public attitudes to GM foods and human cloning: evidence from multiple methods. Invited seminar at Leeds University Business School, 25 January 2006.

Shepherd, R. (2006). UK public attitudes to applications of genetic sciences. Invited paper at 'Modern Biotechnology and its Social Impact', ESRC Genomics Policy and Research Forum, Edinburgh, 22-24 March 2006.

Shepherd, R. (2006). Public attitudes to human cloning: evidence from mixed methods. Invited paper presented at the Research Methods Festival, St Catherine's College, Oxford, 17-20 July 2006.

Shepherd, R., Barnett, J., Cooper, H., Coyle, A., Moran-Ellis, J., Senior, V., & Walton, C. (2006). UK public attitudes to reproductive and therapeutic human cloning. Poster presented at the International Society of Behavioral Medicine Conference, Bangkok, 29 November - 2 December 2006.

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