Groningen earthquakes research

Starting in 2013, the University of Groningen began carrying out independent research into how residents of the province of Groningen felt about natural gas extraction operations from the Groninger gas field.

This study formed the foundation for longitudinal research on the opinions of residents of the region with regard to gas extraction. The research ran through May 2019.

You can read the research paper which resulted from these studies here: 

Perceived risks, emotions, and policy preferences: A longitudinal survey among the local population on gas quakes in the Netherlands (Goda Perlaviciute, Linda Steg, Elisabeth J. Hoekstra, Leonie Vrieling)

The research was led by professor Linda Steg. The Nederlandse Aardolie Maatschappij (NAM) commissioned the study. The NAM asked the RUG to conduct research in order to gain a better understanding of what the surrounding area expects from NAM and from gas production. The study also provided insights into how residents assess the benefits and risks of gas production.

The study also serves a scientific purpose. Among other things, it examined what people consider important when they think about energy facilities such as gas production and what role that plays in their judgments about these energy facilities.

‘It is important to know how judgments about energy facilities are formed and what factors influence them. It shows how people’s interests and concerns can be best met,’ says Linda Steg.

The research commenced on Monday, Nov. 4 2013, and ran for a year. Over the course of several weeks, employees of the RUG spoke with residents of various municipalities in Groningen at home to ask whether they would like to participate in the study.

Participation consisted of completing a questionnaire about opinions on gas production and its consequences, among other things.

The RUG asked participants to complete a questionnaire at three different times, in order to track opinions over time, and to find out why opinions change. As a token of appreciation for their participation, participants received a voucher to spend at a local bakery. 

The data of study participants was processed confidentially and anonymously. The RUG used the data for scientific purposes, and provided an anonymised version of the data to NAM.

A version of this text was originally published on the University of Groningen website.

You can view the research results from the various phases of the study here:

Phase 1

Phase 2

Phase 3

Phase 4

Phase 5

Phase 6

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