School of Social and Political Science

SPS study investigates public understandings, expectations and experience of Covid-19 testing in Scotland

Sub head

Dr Alice Street has launched new research into how testing strategies for Covid-19 are influencing public trust in health services and government response.


Dr Street received £30,000 in funding from the Chief Scientist Office for the project, Building trust in a global pandemic: public perceptions, expectations and experiences of COVID-19 testing in Lothian, Scotland. 

The project will investigate understandings, expectations and experiences of Covid-19 testing in Scotland and the effect this has on public trust. It will be conducted over six months and involve around 60 interviews with members of the public aged between 20 and 80 living in the Lothian area. 

Dr Street, from the Social Anthropology department at the School of Social and Political Science, is carrying out the research with co-investigators Shona Lee, a research fellow at the School and Kate Templeton, a consultant clinical scientist at the Royal Infirmary Edinburgh.  

Understanding the public’s view of Covid-19 testing in Scotland 

Dr Street said:

“The UK testing strategy has been highly controversial, potentially undermining public trust in the government response. We will provide in-depth, socially contextualised research into people’s understandings of the purpose of different Covid-19 tests, their expectations of how and when they should be tested, their experiences of testing and how test outcomes influence personal decision-making.”

Sharing the findings 

The research results will be communicated to policy makers, scientists, laboratory and hospital managers, public health experts and social scientists through:

  • A rapid-response working paper 
  • Comment pieces in public mainstream and online media, social media accounts
  • A dedicated webinar on Scottish testing policy with invited expert speakers
  • A peer-reviewed article in an interdisciplinary social science/public health journal