Believe it or Not: Public Opinion and Rumors About COVID-19

Authors

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.14515/monitoring.2020.6.1752

Keywords:

COVID-19, rumours, fake news, experiment, list experiment

Abstract

The problem of answering sensitive questions does not have a unique solution and may vary depending on the topic or the country. The problem is particularly important in times of crisis when unverified information can cause negative social effects. With a case study involving students from a large Russian university the present study aims to test list experimental design to define the percentage of those individuals who believe in rumours about COVID-19. The authors found that 15.6% of students believe in rumours. This share is much higher in the survey carried out using ulist experimental design as compared to direct question technique. The work confirms the relevance of list experimental design to study sensitive topics, in particular, people’s belief in rumours.

Acknowledgments. The study is funded by the Russian Foundation for Basic Research (RFBR) no. 20-011-31725 “Mechanisms of Public Opinion Formation under the Crisis Media Agenda”.

Author Biographies

Aigul M. Klimova, National Research University Higher School of Economics

  • National Research University Higher School of Economics, Moscow, Russia
    • Сand. Sci. (Soc.),  Associate Professor at the Department of Sociology
    • Senior Research Fellow at the Laboratory for Comparative Social Research

Kirill Sh. Chmel, National Research University Higher School of Economics

  • National Research University Higher School of Economics, Moscow, Russia
    • Master of Arts (MA) in Political Science, Junior Research Fellow at the Laboratory for Comparative Social Research
    • Lecturer at the Department of Integrated Communications

Nikita Yu. Savin, National Research University Higher School of Economics

  • National Research University Higher School of Economics, Moscow, Russia
    • Cand. Sci. (Pol.), Associate Professor at the Department of Integrated Communications

Published

2020-12-30