Who we turn to for information and how much we trust it: health information versus general information

Research Memo #1

Associate Professor Aaron Martin, Dr Erik Baekkeskov, Associate Professor Andrea Carson, Dr Gosia Mikolajczak


As fears around Coronavirus sweep the globe we are all confronted with a vital question: who to turn to for information and how much we trust that information.

Last year the Policy Lab ran a representative survey of 1,000 Australians – as part of the Australian Cooperative Election Survey – to look at this very question. This research memo reports the findings from that survey.

In this survey we asked where people turn to get information in two areas: 1) health information and 2) general information.

We followed that up with questions about how much respondents trusted the sources they most frequently turned to.

We find very different patterns depending on what sort of information people are seeking out. As it relates to health information – and given escalating attacks on experts that have occurred in recent years – the survey presents a rare piece of good news on the role experts can play in confronting health crises like Coronavirus.

Download the full report