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The Stories We Tell Ourselves About Science

What stories do U.S. adults tell themselves about science – and how might such insights help us formulate more refined hypotheses about how science gets polarized in social discourse? Our iterative, design-research approach encompassed three methodologies from ethnographic and design research: in-depth, open-ended interviews; an online collage exercise with followup interviews, and a survey of 500+ adults from different educational backgrounds.


We discovered that Americans tell themselves very different stories about science, but cluster around “a body of knowledge” and “ a process.” For most, science is not “top of mind” unless it’s relevant to personal decision-making. People see no inherent conflict between science and “faith.” And overall, people feel positive about science, despite concerns about bias. The approach, methodology and findings are discussed in our final report: The Stories We Tell Ourselves About Science: Listening to American Adults. This project was funded by the Templeton World Charity Foundation.

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Templeton World Charity Foundation


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Audience research and synthesis


Data collection design and execution (interviews, collage, survey)


Report production and presentations

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