Some people rarely change their opinion, while others do it relatively often. The Citizen Panel is an innovative research platform that will help researchers find better answers to why it is so. Why we change our opinions in issues that are important to us, is a central question.
The Norwegian Citizen Panel particularly emphasizes six important areas of Norwegian society and politics. In some of these areas researchers expect little change in citizens’ opinions; in other they expect bigger change. The six chosen areas are 1) Basic research on political behavior and democracy, 2) Climate and environment, 3) Migration, extremism and diversity, 4) Public health, 5) Political Communication and 6) Territoriell democracy and reforms.
Basic research on political behavior and democracy
How do social identities, norms, and values affect human attitudes and decision making? What are the sources of political legitimacy, and how can they be measured and identified empirically? How is the state of representative democracy - do citizens get what they want and do they get it equally?
With an emphasis on survey experimental techniques, this research unit takes a broad, multidisciplinary approach to basic research questions in fields such as political behaviour, behavioral democratic theory, experimental economics, and judicial politics.
Climate and Environment
This thematic research unit will focus on Norwegians’ attitudes towards climate change – among other things to what extent they think climate change is a problem and if they worry about it, what they think of the climate debate, and how they stand on possible measures to reduce emissions. This cluster also wishes to study to what extent Norwegians are concerned with climate and environment, and what role Norway should have in this issue. In this issue area, it will be especially interesting to study changes in citizens’ opinions over time and to compare them with patterns in other countries.
Migration, extremism and diversity
Migration, extremism and diversity are core societal challenges in advanced contemporary democracies. This thematic research unit collects data about Norwegian citizens’ perceptions, opinions, and reactions to these phenomena, and are part of project teams that also examines them in a comparative context. We seek to understand sources and dynamics of intergroup attitudes, how migration and cultural diversity affect citizen’s attitudes and their political preferences, as well as the causes and consequences of nativism, extremism, and populism.
Against this backdrop, we are currently engaged in studies of Norwegians’ imaginations and experiences of the refugee crisis (IMEX), the challenges of Muslim inclusion (TERMS), and patterns of citizen mobilization among far right political initiatives.
In Norway, health is highly prioritized, as both universal and public health care of high quality, and a focus on health related research. The thematic research unit on health wishes to use the Citizen panel to gain insight on the public’s view on questions like these:
What does the population think is fair distribution of health care? Which patient groups and what diseases do the citizens think should be prioritized? Should circumstances like lifestyle or individual efforts matter for which public care they should receive? How is information and advice about health from the health authorities, researchers and health personnel perceived? What is necessary for the information to be understood? Which advisors do people trust, and which advice do they wish to follow? Which experiences do people have with health care?
The Citizen panel can give us valuable information tied to the citizens self-experienced health condition, challenges with access to and use of health services, and attitudes the citizens have facing research ethical challenges tied to health research.
How do people discuss, read and share political issues? How are people affected by political rhetoric, of what they read in the news and by the people they interact with online? How can we study people’s communicative behavior online? How does the selective exposure to news in online media affect people’s attitudes and political preferences and voting behavior? To what extent do people trust various media and why?
These kind of research questions lay the foundation of the interdisciplinary research unit of political communication, which combine researchers from political science, political rhetoric, media studies and psychology.
Territoriell democracy and reforms
How do citizens evaluate the performance of local, regional, and national governments? What motivates their vote choices in different types of elections? What do citizens think about the ongoing municipal and county reforms?
This research unit investigates citizens' opinions about what they value and expect from political representatives at multiple levels of government. These are important issues given that there are so many structural reforms with territorial dimensions underway in Norway. Therefore, this cluster aims to understand citizen attitudes toward multi-level democracy, as well as to inform public debates surrounding the various reforms.