Project Covid-Norms

In order to combat an infectious disease such as Covid-19, it is crucial that protective measures are applied by a large part of the population. While official regulations are accepted with regard to wearing face masks, a governmental obligation to use the SwissCovid app or an obliged vaccination is hardly imaginable. To avoid economically and socially drastic and controversial measures such as a lockdown, a certain part of the population must voluntarily comply with the protective measures.

Unlike legal requirements, norms regulate behavior socially. The aim of the project is therefore to systematically monitor the development of social norms for various protective measures and to understand the role of different forms of communication.

The research question is accordingly:

How do social norms of preventive behavior develop in Switzerland during the Covid-19 pandemic?

To answer this research question, we survey the Swiss population and analyze the discussion of the protective measures in the mass media, such as television and online newspapers, and on social media, such as Twitter. The close cooperation with the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) ensures that the scientific findings are directly incorporated into communication strategies and prevention measures.

The project is funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) as part of the National Research Program “Covid-19” (NRP 78) and the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH). It will run for a period of two years (September 2020–August 2022).