1137   Individual paper

Public Perception, Myths, and Communication in Turkey During COVID-19 Pandemic

In this survey research study, which was carried out over time at the national level, it is aimed to obtain information about the sources of perceptions about the COVID-19 pandemic. The main data collection tool was a questionnaire developed by the researchers. The data was collected in April and in May 2020 (the very first months of outbreak and the restrictions) via Google Forms to see how things might have changed. The survey was disseminated through social media, primarily Whatsapp and Telegram groups. Within the scope of this research, it is planned to determine society’s perceptions about COVID-19 during the pandemic period, the ways people accessed information, and the reliability of the resources they used to obtain that information. The results indicated that people mostly preferred television to access information during the pandemic period, followed by institutional websites, Twitter, communication applications (WhatsApp, Telegram etc.) and Instagram. In both stages, it was seen that the individuals mostly trusted scientists in accessing reliable information. Participants had a common belief that scientific research led to far more benefits than harms. One of the most remarkable results of the study was public believed that COVID-19 was a biological weapon. In the last part, with open-ended questions, participants stated that the measures being taken around the world were not enough to prevent the spread of the pandemic.  Participants commonly stated that people should pay attention to health and hygiene. As well as revealing perceptions during the pandemic, the findings are expected to inform different stakeholders and policy makers by determining the position of society in relation to myths about the virus. In addition, it is thought that the current research may be useful at national and international levels for potential future pandemics, as it reveals the trends for the current pandemic in two periods.

Co-author: Zeynep Aydogan
University, Turkey

Co-author: Hamdican Yildirim
University, Turkey

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