Nudging the policing response to rules of social distancing

Research Institution / Organisation

University of Huddersfield

Level of Research

Professional / Work-based

Project Start Date

May 2020

Research Context

Aims and objectives

  • To explore public compliance with social distancing rules in England and Wales, during the Covid-19 pandemic.

  • To identify the common demographics of those most likely to break social distancing rules set out by the Government. 

  • To identify what and which messages (prose) the public considered be most effective way of communicating social distancing rules to them. 

  • To identify what or who the public considered to be the most appropriate messenger to deliver messages encouraging compliance with the rules of social distancing (i.e. the police, the government). 

  • To develop better targeted nudging for different demographics of individuals identified as most likely to ignore/break rules of social distancing in future.

Research Methodology

The research will employ an online survey platform (Qualtrics). The survey will collect and collate information regarding participant demographics, their self-reported compliance/non-compliance with the rules of social distancing, and will ask participants about their perceived effectiveness of various types of messages and messengers employed by the UK Government and other agencies (e.g. NHS) to encourage public compliance with social distancing rules during the Covid-19 pandemic.

A recruitment company, Panel Base, will be used to secure a fully representative sample of adults (aged 18 years and over) living in the UK. The sample will consist of 1080 participants who will have chosen to participate in the survey from a list of other surveys.

Once the data has been collected using Qualtrics, the data will be downloaded and saved to the university network in a password protected folder that can only be accessed by the researchers. Data will be stored by the university in this way for a period of 10 years under GDPR rules. SPSS will be used to analyse the data.

Interim reports and publications

‚ÄčNot available

Date due for completion

December 2020
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