Mapping Public Relationship with Science Surveys
SCIENCE AND THE PUBLICS
In 2008, the South African Agency for Science and Technology Advancement (SAASTA) and the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) collaborated on shaping a research agenda related to public and science surveys in South Africa.1 The first step in shaping the agenda was to conduct a scoping exercise by reviewing the Public and Science field, both internationally and in South Africa. The review culminated in the report, Science and the publics: a review of public understanding of science studies (Reddy, Juan, Gastrow and Bantwini, 2009).2 The starting point for our Public and Science Survey Review was that South Africa is a highly diverse country with a diverse population, hence there are many publics. The research in past surveys has provided information related to a single public. In order to interpret the meaning of the measurement statistics it is important to provide a comprehensive description of the diversity that exists i.e. the different publics. We recognized that a single ‘national’ statistic in a highly stratified society like South Africa could be misleading, and that disaggregated statistics by particular demographic groupings would provide a more nuanced and meaningful description for the different publics.