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 • Science

Collection of Surveys on the Corona Crisis

The spread of the coronavirus affects all areas of society, and so it is no surprise that there are now numerous social science surveys on the pandemic.

This article is intended to serve as a collection and overview of such scientific polls. The focus lies on surveys about information and (media / science) communication around Covid-19. Thus, surveys about economic implications or risk perception are not included. Such surveys can be found for example for Germany in two lists of RatSWD (running and closed surveys ). Additionally, there should be at least (first) results available.

The list does not claim to be complete. Hints about missing surveys can be made by comment or mail and are very welcome.


Last updated 14 May 2020: Added link to English article about the Wissenschaftsbarometer and study “Risk perceptions of COVID-19 around the world”; corrections to some links

Previous updates:

  • 14 April 2020: Survey from Malaysia added
  • 28 April 2020: Added “Wissenschaftsbarometer Corona Spezial” and link to the second wave of the survey “Italian Citizens and Covid-19”
  • 29 April 2020: Reorganized the overview a bit with tables
  • 30 April 2020: Added new surveys (Reuters Institute, Web Use Project)

Transnational Surveys

Access and Rating of News in 6 Countries

In this report, we use survey data collected in late March and early April 2020 to document and understand how people in six countries (Argentina, Germany, South Korea, Spain, the UK, and the US) accessed news and information about COVID-19 in the early stages of the global pandemic, how they rate the trustworthiness of the different sources and platforms they rely on, how much misinformation they say they encounter, and their knowledge of and responses to the coronavirus crisis.

Nielsen, R. K., Flechter, R., Newman, N., Brennen, S., & Howard, P. N. (2020, April 15). Navigating the ‘infodemic’: How people in six countries access and rate news and information about coronavirus. Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism.

Digital Media and the Coronavirus Pandemic

In April 2020, we collected survey data from adults in the United States, Switzerland and Italy to ask them about their experiences during the Coronavirus pandemic. Here, we showcase some of our findings and point to our related work elsewhere.

Hargittai, E., Nguyen, M. H., Fuchs, J., Gruber, J., & Marler, W. (2020, April 20). Covid-19 Study on Digital Media and the Coronavirus Pandemic. Web Use Project.

Risk perceptions of COVID-19 around the world

In this study, we present the first assessment of public risk perception of COVID-19 around the world using national samples (total N = 6,991) in ten countries across Europe, America, and Asia. We find that although levels of concern are relatively high, they are highest in the UK compared to all other sampled countries.

Dryhurst, S., Schneider, C. R., Kerr, J., Freeman, A. L. J., Recchia, G., van der Bles, A. M., Spiegelhalter, D., & van der Linden, S. (2020). Risk perceptions of COVID-19 around the world. Journal of Risk Research, 1–13.


COVID-19 Snapshot Monitoring (COSMO)

The aim of this project is to gain a repeated insight into the perceptions of the population — the “psychological situation”. This should make it easier to orient communication measures and reporting in such a way as to offer the population correct, helpful knowledge and prevent misinformation and actionism. For example, an attempt will also be made to classify behaviour that is strongly discussed in the media, such as discrimination against people who apparently come from countries that are strongly affected, such as China or Italy, or so-called panic purchases. We want to find out how often such behaviour actually occurs and which factors can possibly explain this behaviour. [29.04.2020; translated from German]

  • Conducted by: Universität Erfurt (UE), Robert Koch-Institut (RKI), Bundeszentrale für gesundheitliche Aufklärung (BZgA), Leibniz-Zentrum für Psychologische Information und Dokumentation (ZPID), Science Media Center (SMC), Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine (BNITM), Yale Institute for Global Health (YIGH). Some waves are conducted with the help of additional partners.
  • Raw data available: No
  • Results available: Yes
  • Links: Website of COSMO

Information Sources and Impressions

Which media and platforms do people use to inform themselves in the Corona crisis and what impression do they have of the crisis situation?

These and other questions are examined by communication scientists Christina Viehmann and Oliver Quiring from the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz and Marc Ziegele from the Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf in a current study.

Last week (24-26 March), the researchers interviewed a total of 2,038 people representative of the German population aged 18 and over via the YouGov survey institute.

Press release about the study [09.04.2020; translated from German]

Risk Perception and Coping Strategies

This paper presents preliminary results of a representative survey of the German population focusing on perceptions of risk and ways of coping with COVID-19. Results show that older people estimate the risk of COVID-19 as being less than younger people. Women are more concerned about COVID-19 than men. People especially worry about being infected in places with high public traffic such as public transport and shops or restaurants. Coping strategies are highly problem-focused and most respondents listen to experts’ advice and try to behave calmly and appropriately. People accept that measures to tackle COVID-19 will take time to be effective. Bulk buying and storing of food is mainly justified by a combination of convenience and a perceived need to be prepared for potential quarantine.

Gerhold, L. (2020, March 25). COVID-19: Risk perception and Coping strategies.

Wissenschaftsbarometer Corona Spezial

How important are scientific findings for the population in times of the corona pandemic? What role does the public ascribe to science in the political handling of corona? How well informed do citizens feel about Corona? The science barometer Corona Special provides population-representative data on these questions. [28.04.2020; translated from German]


Italian Citizens and Covid-19

More than one Italian citizen over five still underplays the Covid-19 threat. This is one of the key results emerging from the recent survey conducted by Observa Science in Society Monitor. The monitor analyses in the first place exposure to information.

Bucchi, M., & Saracino, B. (2020, March 21). Italian citizens and covid-19. Public Understanding of Science Blog.


Public knowledge, perception and communication behavior

The COVID-19 pandemic is the first to occur in an age of hyperconnectivity. This paper presents results from an online anonymous survey conducted in Malay, English, and Chinese, during the first week of the Movement Control Order in Malaysia (n=1075), which aimed to examine public knowledge, perception and communication behavior in the Malaysian society in the face of a sudden outbreak and social distancing measures.

Although the level of public knowledge, risk perception and positive communication behavior surrounding COVID-19 was high, a majority of respondents reported receiving a lot of questionable information. Multinomial logistic regression further identified that responses to different items varied significantly across respondent survey language, gender, age, education level and employment status.

Mohd Hanafiah, Khayriyyah; Wan, Chang Da (2020). Public knowledge, perception and communication behavior surrounding COVID-19 in Malaysia. SageSubmissions. Preprint.


Coronavirus in the Swedish Media

Research resources and communication efforts are being mobilised worldwide to reduce the harmful effects of the new coronavirus. In this global emergency, people are faced with making lots of decisions based on a growing, but often limited evidence base. How does the Swedish public view the way different professional groups are communicating about the coronavirus? Which sources are people using to get their information and how much confidence does the public have in various types of spokespeople?

In collaboration with researchers at the Karolinska Institute and Södertörn University, VA (Public & Science) is conducting a study of how people are receiving and interpreting information about the coronavirus and the ongoing pandemic.

Vetenskap & Allmänhet. (2020, April 2). Coronavirus in the Swedish media study—High public confidence in researchers and healthcare professionals. Vetenskap & Allmänhet.