The SciPop Scale for measuring science-related populist attitudes in surveys: Development, test, and validation

Abstract

Populism typically pits political elites against “the virtuous people.” A distinct variant of populism (“science-related populism”) extends beyond politics, targeting academic elites and suggesting they ignore people’s common sense and will. Individual endorsement of such a worldview (“science-related populist attitudes”) has been conceptualized but not yet measured. Hence, we developed the SciPop Scale, a survey instrument to measure science-related populist attitudes. We tested 17 survey items in a first representative survey and developed an 8-item scale. We then tested German, French, and Italian versions of this scale in a second representative survey, employing confirmatory factor analysis, Item Response Theory, and external validity tests. Findings show that the SciPop Scale is a robust and reliable measure of populist demands toward science.

Publication
In International Journal of Public Opinion Research, 33(2), 273–293.
Items of the final SciPop Scale.
Items measured with 5-point Likert scales ranging from 1 (“fully disagree”) to 5 (“fully agree”).

Items of the final SciPop Scale.
Items measured with 5-point Likert scales ranging from 1 (“fully disagree”) to 5 (“fully agree”).

Niels G. Mede
Niels G. Mede
Science Communication Researcher and PhD Student

I am a Research and Teaching Assistant at the Department of Communication and Media Research (IKMZ), University of Zurich, Switzerland. My research focuses on public opinion about science, populism and its implications for science and science communication, and survey methodology.