The Sustainable Development Goals — Sensible Initiative or Just Nonsense? An Investigation of Norwegian Citizens’ Knowledge and Attitudes
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionSustainability. 2022, 14, 4305. https://doi.org/10.3390/su14074305
Abstract: We explore what associations Norwegian citizens have with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through an analysis of their knowledge of and attitudes towards these goals. To achieve this, we combine three methodological approaches: (1) structural topic modelling (STM) providing topic prevalence, (2) manual content analysis including exploration of attitudes, and (3) analysis of how individuals’ background characteristics relate to expressions of negative or positive sentiments towards SDGs. The data consist of 4046 answers to an open-ended question, formulated as follows: What comes to mind when you read or hear the expression ‘UN Sustainability Development Goals?’, fielded during the autumn of 2020, through a survey at the Norwegian Citizen Panel/DIGSSCORE. Major findings: The most prevalent topics associated with the SDGs are poverty, climate/environment, resources, future generations and consumption. The analysis indicates that the Norwegian awarenessraising campaigns have been relatively successful. However, the manual analysis shows that the SDG is an unknown concept for 12% of the respondents, and that 10% hold a negative view. Nine percent of the respondents hold a positive view of the goals. In addition, their attitudes differ clearly according to various background variables (gender, age, political preference). The findings are important for further efforts to spread knowledge of, and raise interest in, the SDGs, at different levels (government,regional and local contexts). Keywords: sustainability; open-ended question; Structural Topic Modelling; awareness; attitudes.