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 Citizen Panel particularly emphasizes four 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 four chosen areas are 1) Trust and political participation, 2) Climate and environment, 3) Basic research on political behavior and democracy, 4) Diversity, extremism and human rights, 5) Health and 6) Political communication.
Trust and political participation
Who engages in society, and how do they do it? To what degree does Norwegians have trust in each other and to important institutions and actors in society? What is the cause of variation trust and participation among Norwegians? These are central questions for this research group, which is led by Kristin Strømsnes and Ivar Eimhjellen.
Climate and environment
The Citizen Panel 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. The group 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.
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? With an emphasis on survey experimental techniques, this research group takes a broad, multidisciplinary approach to basic research questions in fields such as behavioral democratic theory, experimental economics, political communication, and judicial politics.
Diversity, extremism and human rights
Central themes to this research group are Norwegians attitudes towards distribution of resources – such as welfare politics – together with attitudes towards migration and integration. Are these opinions that change relatively little over time? What influences Norwegians’ opinions in these issues? For this group also will changes over time and differences between countries be of special interest.
In Norway, health is highly prioritized, as both universal and public health care of high quality, and a focus on health related research. The health group 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 group of political communication, which combine researchers from political science, political rhetoric, media studies and psychology.