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Project Information Literacy Climate Change Study


Welcome to the Climate Change Survey Information Site!

Study Information

What was the Climate Change Study about?

The climate emergency demands immediate and collective action. To promote a shared understanding of the crisis more effectively, educators, librarians, journalists, climate stewards, policymakers, and concerned citizens need to know how a divided America views climate change and either takes action or does not. 

Despite increasing media coverage, little research has examined the ways Americans encounter and respond to information about climate change and what factors influence their understanding of the current climate crisis. This study fills this research gap by collecting data about climate change awareness and attitudes among a sample of American adults and about their encounters with the variety of information flows that make up their information worlds. This study asks not what people in the U.S. know about climate change, but how they know it. 

For even more detailed information about the study, see the Frequently Asked Questions here. 

Note: This study received SCU IRB exempt approval; Protocol ID: 23-12-2099. 

How did students participate in the study?

On February 5, 2024, all full-time undergraduates were sent a personalized email invitation to complete a short, 19 item survey. This survey took 5-7 minutes to complete. One email reminder was sent on February 12 and the SCU survey officially closed on February 15.

In exchange for their participation, students entered a drawing for a $200 Amazon gift card. Faculty encouraged students to voluntarily complete the survey either in or out of class time. SCU Club, groups, and centers also helped promote the survey.

What did Santa Clara University get from the study?

In addition to surveying a cross-section of U.S. residents, this study included college students enrolled at 10 institutions in different parts of the country: Arizona State University West Campus, Brandeis University, Central Oregon Community College, Columbus State University, Grinnell College, Indiana University South Bend, Santa Clara University, Tufts University, University of Minnesota Duluth, and University of Washington Tacoma.

Santa Clara University Library received local data and a trends report specific to our student respondents in April 2024. You can access a one-page summary and the full report below:

In addition, a national level report analyzing survey data from all respondents (college students and the general public) is available via the Project Information Literacy (PIL) website and linked below.

What are the next steps?

The SCU Library will share information with campus stakeholders to reflect on our local findings and consider implications for our campus.

Who can you contact to learn more?

For questions about the research study, contact any of these library staff: