Understanding and Changing Public Attitudes: A Review of Existing Evidence from Public Information and Communication Campaigns

Heaven Crawley

    Research output: Book/ReportOther report


    There is evidence of increasingly negative public attitudes towards asylum and immigration issues in the UK. This evidence can be found in ad hoc opinion polls, the British Social Attitudes (BSA) survey, European surveys – most notably Eurobarometer and the European Social Survey (ESS) – and international surveys, in particular the International Social Survey Programme (ISSP) (Saggar and Drean 2001; Crawley 2005). These attitudes are reflected in, and reinforced by, negative media coverage and the successful campaigning of the anti-immigration lobby.

    Increased concern about rising levels of hostility towards asylum seekers and refugees has been met by efforts on the part of policy makers, practitioners and advocates to better understand the factors underlying attitude formation in relation to asylum and, in turn, increase public understanding of issues relating to forced migration and positively influence attitudes (Valentine and McDonald 2004; Lewis 2005; Coe et al 2005).The aim of this report is to assist those working in the refugee sector (and beyond) to better understand the dynamics of the current situation. In turn it aims to ensure that resources are directed towards those activities which are likely to be most effective in positively affecting attitudes towards asylum issues given what is already known, while assuming that broader contextual factors (for example, the level of asylum applications and the government’s policies and discourse) remain largely consistent with the current situation.

    This report was one of the key documents underpinning the Changing Minds Initiative (now known as the Migration Exchange), an informal funder network which aims to ensure accurate and depth in the debate on nation identity, integration, and immigration.
    Original languageEnglish
    PublisherDiana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund
    Commissioning bodyDiana, Princess of Wales Memorial Trust
    Number of pages32
    Publication statusPublished - 2009


    • Public attitudes
    • public opinion
    • Migration
    • asylum
    • Public Policy
    • United Kingdom
    • Civil society


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