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Wellcome Trust Monitor

The Wellcome Trust Monitor is a unique survey of UK adults' and young people's views of science, biomedical research and science education.

  • Wave 1 (the baseline survey) was conducted in 2009 by the National Centre for Social Research who interviewed 1,179 adults and 374 young people.
  • Wave 2 was conducted in 2012 by Ipsos MORI who interviewed 1,396 adults and 460 young people.

The findings are representative of the UK population - adults (aged 18 and over) and young people (aged 14-18) - and provide fresh and significant insights to inform science communication practice and how research priorities might be shaped, building a better understanding of the societal and educational context of biomedical research.

The Wellcome Trust Monitor is repeated every three years and a large proportion of the questions recur in each wave. The aim of this tracking survey is to build a high-quality evidence base that explores trends and variations across time on both general scientific themes and specific societal issues. This robust study also seeks to develop a more systematic approach to describing and understanding current interest in, attitudes towards and knowledge of science. There is flexibility within each wave to include a number of additional questions to explore new and topical areas of interest.

"Revealing a predominantly positive context for our work, the Wellcome Trust Monitor results show the majority of people are interested in science, enjoy science education, and feel optimistic about the potential of biomedical research to improve lives in the future. Researchers, policy makers, science communicators and others will find the data useful as areas in which public understanding, engagement or aspiration and practice of science could be strengthened have been exposed." - Clare Matterson, Director of Medical Humanities and Engagement, Wellcome Trust, May 2013

Resources

The full programme of work and data from the Wellcome Trust Monitor is freely available to view, use and share.

Research reports
Wave 1 [PDF 2.2MB; updated November 2012]
Wave 2 (with hyperlinked data) [Word 11.8MB]; Wave 2 [PDF 5MB]

Technical reports
Wave 1 [PDF 1.3 MB]
Wave 2 (with hyperlinked data) [Word 2.77MB]; Wave 2 [PDF 650KB]

Technical report appendices
Appendix A: Cognitive testing and pilot survey documents - Wave 1 [Word 292KB] and Wave 2 [Word 2.66MB]

Appendix B: Main stage fieldwork documents - Wave 1 [Word 828KB] and Wave 2 [Word 3.58MB]

Appendix C: Editing and coding documents - Wave 1 [Word 216KB] and Wave 2 [Word 1.64MB]

Appendix D: Questionnaire and showcards - Wave 1 [Word 2.07MB] and Wave 2 [Word 2.42MB]

Appendix E: Derived variables - Wave 1 [Word 44KB]

Report summaries
Wave 1 key findings [PDF 192 KB]

Wave 2 infographic summaries on: Biomedical research topics [PDF 807KB]; Engaging with science [PDF 240KB]; Science education [PDF 573KB]; and Medical research and the public [PDF 269KB].

Core data tables
Results from each Wave 2 question [Excel 2.63MB]

Full datasets
Wave 1 and Wave 2 datasets can be accessed on the UK Data Service - search for 'Wellcome Trust Monitor'.

Developments and feedback

There are a number of ways to follow developments about the Wellcome Trust Monitor and leave feedback on the findings and your usage of the data.

Social media links: @WellcomeTrust, @WTeducation, #WTMonitor, Facebook, Flickr

Feedback: Have you read or used the findings from the Monitor? If so, we would appreciate you completing this short survey. We are logging activity to try and understand usage of, and improve access to, the Monitor data.

Related research

The Wellcome Trust commissioned a number of studies following up on areas of interest from the Wave 1 results. These have resulted in several publications:

Allum N, Sibley E, Sturgis P, Stoneman P. Religious beliefs, knowledge about science and attitudes towards medical genetics. Public Understanding of Science forthcoming. Download a preprint [PDF 733 KB].

National Foundation for Educational Research. Exploring young people’s views on science education. Wellcome Trust; 2011.

Stoneman P, Sturgis P, Allum N. Exploring public discourses about emerging technologies through statistical clustering of open-ended survey questions. Public Understanding of Science 2012 April. Download a draft version [PDF 124KB].

Stoneman P, Sturgis P, Allum N. Understanding support for complementary and alternative medicine in general populations: use and perceived efficacy. PLoS ONE, in press. Download a draft version [PDF 68KB].

Stoneman P, Sturgis P, Allum N, Sibley E. Incommensurable worldviews? Is public use of complementary and alternative medicines incompatible with support for science and conventional medicine? Health: An Interdisciplinary Journal for the Social Study of Health, Illness and Medicine, in press. Download a draft version [PDF 72KB].

Principal Investigator for the Wellcome Trust Monitor

Professor Patrick Sturgis, Professor of Research Methodology, University of Southampton, and Director of the ESRC National Centre for Research Methods (Wave 1 and 2)

Past and present members of the Wellcome Trust Monitor External Advisory Board

Dr Nick Allum, Senior Lecturer, University of Essex (Waves 1 and 2)

Professor Louise Archer, Professor of Sociology and Education, King's College London (Wave 2)

Professor Fran Balkwill, Centre Lead for Translational Oncology, Institute of Cancer at Barts and the London Queen Mary's School of Medicine and Dentistry (Wave 1)

Dr Julie Barnett, Senior Research Fellow of Psychology, University of Surrey (Wave 1)

Professor Massimiano Bucchi, Professor of Science in Society, University of Trento and Observa (Waves 1 and 2)

Dr Cary Funk, Senior Researcher, Pew Research Center (Wave 2)

Dr Andy Futreal, Co-Head of the Cancer Genome Project, Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute (Wave 1)

George Gaskell, Pro-director Planning and Resources, London School of Economics (Wave 2)

Sir Roger Jowell, Research Professor, City University London, and Founding Director, Centre for Comparative Social Surveys (Wave 1)

Professor Jon Miller, John A Hannah Professor of Integrative Studies, Michigan State University (Wave 1)

Professor Clive Nancarrow, Professor of Marketing Research, Bristol Business School, University of the West of England (Wave 1)

Professor Geraint Rees, Group Leader, Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging and Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience (Wave 1)

Professor Michael Reiss, Professor of Science Education, Institute of Education, University of London (Wave 1)

Professor Dietram A Scheufele, John E Ross Professor in Science Communication, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Center for Nanotechnology in Society (Wave 2)

Dr Camilla Schriener, Principal Researcher, University of Oslo (Wave 1)

Professor Svein Sjoberg, Professor in Science Education, University of Oslo (Wave 1)

Dr Saffron Townsend, Senior Science and Society Manager, Research Councils UK (Wave 1)

Dr Stephen Webster, Lecturer in Science Communication, Imperial College London (Wave 1)

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