Environmental Studies Program


Date of this Version



Environmental Studies Undergraduate Student Thesis, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 2021.


Copyright Nichols 2021


This observational study was performed to develop a better understanding of what kinds of communication formats were most preferred as well as which of those formats were most trusted. Studies have shown that many scientific research papers go largely unread by anyone other than their author and editors. With many issues such as global climate change becoming more important every day, it is important that scientists determine the most effective method of communicating their findings with not only world leaders, but average citizens as well. Using an online survey, participants were asked to review three different formats concerned with three varying topics. Demographic variables were then recorded and compared to responses for trends. Questions were concerned with which format the participant preferred, which they trusted, and what aspects of the formats they valued most. Results showed that videos were chosen as the most preferred format while science reports were seen as the most trustworthy format. Education level had an inverse relationship with trust in videos. Males that participated in the survey unanimously chose science reports as the most trustworthy format. Preference in format became less skewed towards videos as education level increased, moving towards an even distribution between all three formats.