| Erfurt Laboratory for Empirical Research, Faculty of Philosophy, SPF Wissen. Räume. Medien., Forschung

Scientists at the University of Erfurt study information behaviour in the corona crisis

Within the framework of the project "Coronavirus-related Crisis Communication, Information Seeking and Media Effects (CoreCrisis)", the team around Prof. Dr. Constanze Rossmann, Professor of Communication Science with a focus on Social Communication at the University of Erfurt, is currently working on the interplay between official, media and social media communication and the information behaviour of doctors and the population in the context of the coronavirus pandemic.

[Translate to English:] Prof. Dr. Constanze Rossmann
[Translate to English:] Prof. Dr. Constanze Rossmann

In order to investigate information behaviour, factors influencing the search for information and their effects on risk perception, knowledge and behaviour, a two-way panel survey of German citizens aged 18 and over is currently being conducted. More than 1000 people are being interviewed online at two points in time in order to draw causal conclusions about their information behaviour and media effects. The results of the first survey wave are now available.

First analyses make it clear:

  • Knowledge, trust in the authorities and the information behaviour regarding the coronavirus are strongly pronounced, and the recommendations for behaviour for one's own protection are also largely adhered to.
  • However, the perceived level of knowledge is already almost saturated, which makes it conceivable that the willingness to provide information will tend to decline in the near future.
  • The most important information channels are television, conversations with family and friends and the Internet. Medical experts are less important as a source of health information compared to non-crisis periods, which is probably explained by the lack of contact with doctors. Alternative ways of reaching medical experts (e.g. video consultation hours) should therefore be offered.
  • Differences in the search for information, knowledge and protective behaviour between age groups and people with low versus high health literacy highlight the need for target group-specific offerings and information processing.