Director Vedlitz along with ISTPP Fellow, James Stoutenborough, and Liu Shi (former ISTPP Research Associate) have published their article, “Probing Public Perceptions on Energy: Support for a Comparative, Deep-Probing Survey Design for Complex Issue Domains,” in Energy. With an emphasis on energy issues, the researchers examine the concerns about surveys of public attitudes being superficial and too fragmented to represent views comprehensively within a complex issue domain.
The authors take a deeper look into individuals’ attitudes by using an approach that looks comparatively and in-depth at sub-issues within the larger domain of energy policy. In addition to being asked about general energy perceptions, concerns, and risks, survey respondents also answered such questions about six alternative electricity generating technologies – coal, nuclear, natural gas, hydroelectric, solar, and wind. This allowed the researchers to apply context to individuals’ attitudes and discover nuances that are missed by typical surveys, which tend to be relatively narrow in scope. With current energy debates about hydraulic fracturing, oil exploration, gas prices, and renewable energy, it is critical that policy makers more thoroughly understand how the public views the risks and tradeoffs among these different energy sub-issues. The authors’ use of a sub-issue comparative, deep-probing survey instrument helps provide this needed insight and reveals the benefits of utilizing a sub-issue comparative, deep-probing survey instrument.
James W. Stoutenborough, Liu Shi, and Arnold Vedlitz. 2015. “Probing Public Perceptions on Energy: Support for a Comparative, Deep-Probing Survey Design for Complex Issue Domains.” Energy DOI: 10.1016/j.energy.2014.12.053. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S036054421401425X