The Development and Validation of the Social Enterprise of Science Index (SESI): an Instrument to Measure Grasp of the Social-Institutional Aspects of Science
22 Pages Posted: 31 Mar 2020 Last revised: 22 Feb 2021
Date Written: March 6, 2020
Significant gaps remain between public opinion and the scientific consensus on many issues. We present the results of three studies (N = 722 in total) for the development and testing of a novel instrument to measure a largely unmeasured aspect of scientific literacy: the enterprise of science, particularly in the context of its social structures. We posit that this understanding of the scientific enterprise is an important source for the public’s trust in science. Our results indicate that the Social Enterprise of Science Index (SESI) is a reliable and valid instrument that correlates positively with trust in science (r = .256, p < .001), and level of education (r = .245, p < .001). We also develop and validate a six question short version of the SESI for ease of use in longer surveys.
Keywords: scientific literacy, public understanding of science, instrument development, scientific enterprise, scientific community
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