UK Data Service data catalogue record for:

Public Understanding of Genomics and the Dynamics of Opinion Change: a Panel Study, 2003-2004

Title details

SN: 5147
Title: Public Understanding of Genomics and the Dynamics of Opinion Change: a Panel Study, 2003-2004
Persistent identifier: 10.5255/UKDA-SN-5147-1
Depositor: Sturgis, P., University of Surrey. Department of Sociology
Principal investigator(s): Sturgis, P., University of Surrey. Department of Sociology
Data collector(s): National Centre for Social Research
BMRB. Social Research
Original data producer(s): National Centre for Social Research
Other acknowledgements: Data for Wave 1 were collected by the National Centre for Social Research as part of the British Social Attitudes Survey (BSA), 2003.
Data for Waves 2 and 3 were collected by BMRB Social Research on behalf of the University of Surrey.


The citation for this study is:

Sturgis, P. (2005). Public Understanding of Genomics and the Dynamics of Opinion Change: a Panel Study, 2003-2004. [data collection]. National Centre for Social Research, [original data producer(s)]. UK Data Service. SN: 5147,

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Subject Categories

Environmental and conservation issues - Environment, conservation and land use
General - Health
Science and technology
Social attitudes and behaviour - Society and culture


Abstract copyright UK Data Service and data collection copyright owner.

At a time when gene technologies are gaining increasing prominence, this research enabled a better understanding of how the dynamics of public attitudes towards genomics are underpinned by factual knowledge. It examined the extent to which a more knowledgeable public adopts attitudes that are more favourable, or opposed, to genetic science and whether this kind of information is of any real importance in shaping attitudes over time.

This was achieved by taking a sample of respondents from the British Social Attitudes Survey, 2003 (BSA 2003 - not currently held at the UK Data Archive) and using them as the basis of an innovative panel study. Approximately six months after the initial survey, a random sample of BSA 2003 respondents were re-contacted for a second interview and randomly split into three equal groups, with two groups being exposed to a video film intervention that provided information on genetics: for one group, the film included additional information on the regulation of genetic technology, but for the other group it did not. The third group acted as a control. Immediately after the intervention, these respondents were re-interviewed using a subset of genomics-based questions from the BSA, and further questions relating to the intervention.

A second follow-up interview was conducted by telephone three months later, using the same subset of questions, which allowed a detailed assessment of the longer-term impact of scientific knowledge on attitudes to genomics. It has thus been possible to determine the nature of the lag between the reception of information and attitude change, whether different domains of factual knowledge vary in their effect on attitudes over time, and how the knowledge-attitude relationship is mediated and moderated by individual characteristics.
Main Topics:
This dataset contains information on 867 respondents who completed Waves 1 and 2 of the panel study. Of these, 458 individuals subsequently agreed to a second re-interview, and data are also present for these cases in Wave 3 (identified by the variable 'in3').

Details of the 'condition' (i.e. short video/longer video/non-video group) to which each respondent was allocated are also included, along with basic demographic information (age, gender, education, etc.). This is followed by data from a battery of 51 questions that examine respondents' attitudes to various aspects of genomics (genetically modified (GM) foods, genetic testing, therapeutic cloning, etc.). These questions are repeated at each wave of data collection, allowing users to examine changes in attitudes and the impact of the two films shown. Variables are also included that detail respondents' feelings about the video intervention (if they were placed within these conditions).

The dataset also includes the variable 'serial', enabling users to link the dataset with the BSA 2003 to uncover additional information about the respondents who completed the panel study. A total of 181 variables are included in the dataset, with those respondents who only completed the first two waves of data collection having information for 130 of them.

Standard Measures:
Many of the attitude items used in this dataset have been used in previous BSA surveys (e.g. 1999 and 2001 (see under SNs 4318 and 4615), and also by the Wellcome Trust Consultative Panel on Gene Therapy.

Coverage, universe, methodology

Dates of fieldwork: Wave 1 data collected June -September 2003; Wave 2 collected March-April 2004; Wave 3 collected September-October 2004
Country: Great Britain
Spatial units: Countries
Observation units: Individuals
Kind of data: Numeric data
Individual (micro) level
Universe: National
Adults aged 18 and over in Great Britain during 2003-2004.
Time dimensions: Cross-sectional (one-time) study
contains longitudinal element in that up to three waves were conducted with the same respondents.
Sampling procedures: Multi-stage stratified random sample
Number of units: Wave 2: target 1200, obtained 867. Wave 3: target 867, obtained 458.
Method of data collection: Face-to-face interview; Telephone interview
Weighting: Weighting factors have not been included in this data set, however it is noted that there is non-random drop out between waves therefore it is recommended that the user derives weights that suit their analysis. Basic sampling weights can also be obtained from BSA 2003.
Data sources: Wave 1 was conducted as part of BSA 2003. The variables from the BSA sample are described in the documentation.

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Administrative and access information

Date of release:
First edition: 14 April 2005
Copyright: Copyright held jointly between National Centre for Social Research (Wave 1) and P. Sturgis (Waves 2 and 3).
Access conditions: The depositor has specified that registration is required and standard conditions of use apply. The depositor may be informed about usage. See terms and conditions of access for further information.
Availability: UK Data Service
Contact: Get in touch


Title File Name Size (KB)
User guide 5147userguide.pdf 256
Study information and citation UKDA_Study_5147_Information.htm 22
READ File read5147.htm 11


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By principal investigator(s):
Sturgis, P., et al. (2004) 'Genomic science: emerging public opinion' in A. Park, et al. (eds.) British Social Attitudes: 21st report, London: Sage.

Resulting from secondary analysis:


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