The central United States has seen an increase in earthquakes in recent years, spurring academics to research this new hazard and communicate their findings to the public—that the earthquakes are human-induced and tied to activities associated with oil and gas development. However, individuals receive information from a variety of sources and accept or reject information based on how credible they view the information source. Within this study, we administered and analyzed a household survey to understand what sources individuals view as credible regarding induced seismicity and oil and gas development, and what factors predict this perceived source credibility. We found that academics were viewed as the most credible source, and elected officials were viewed as the least credible source. Rural respondents viewed sources, including academics, as less credible than their urban counterparts. Those who experienced more negative impacts of induced seismicity viewed all sources as less credible than did individuals who have not experienced such adverse impacts. These findings are important to consider when developing outreach and communication campaigns around sustainability issues, as the public will view certain sources, particularly academics, as more credible than the sources that traditionally create and enact policy, such as elected officials and government agencies.
Tracy, A. and Javernick-Will, A. (2020). “Credible Sources of Information Regarding Induced Seismicity”. Sustainability. 12(6), 2308; 10.3390/su12062308.