Knowledge gaps and the role of the BBC in the era of fake news

Internal description

KTA / IAA (Research) [KTA / IAA R]


This project will examine whether established news sources such as the BBC can help to reduce the so-called ‘knowledge gap’ between more and less well educated citizens in society. More specifically we will look at the extent to which those with higher or lower levels of prior knowledge rely on the BBC for news and information and what the effects of that exposure are in each case. Do the information-rich get richer but the information-poor reap greater benefits, thereby levelling the information playing field? How are those effects generated and can we develop ways to further increase knowledge acquisition among the least educated?

These are important questions for democracies to address in general given the importance of having a well informed electorate. They are particularly important in an environment of fake news and recent deliberate attempts at misinforming voters.

To conduct the analysis we will use innovative methods that combine large-scale behavioural data on BBC audiences with qualitative evidence gathered from a sub-sample of users. The results of the project will provide a better understanding of how the public broadcasting fulfils its core mission to inform and educate. It will also provide practical insights into how the BBC can address problems of ‘information poverty’ in society.
Short titleR:HSG IAA Knowledge Gaps
Effective start/end date1/01/1831/12/18