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2015/16 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

LUBS5202M Risk Perception and Communication

15 creditsClass Size: 60

Module manager: Prof Wändi Bruine de Bruin

Taught: Semester 2 View Timetable

Year running 2015/16

This module is approved as an Elective

Module summary

Throughout their personal and professional lives, people face risks that may potentially affect their finances, health, safety, and environmental impacts. This module will help future executives, policy makers, financial advisors, health professionals, and other practitioners to gain a critical understanding of how non-experts perceive risks, as well as how to effectively communicate risk information to diverse audiences. We will cover the main findings of the risk perception and communication literature and discuss applications in the contexts of finance, behavioural economics, public health, and sustainability.


This module aims to provide a critical understanding of how non-expert audiences perceive risks. It will also explore how to effectively communicate risk information to different audiences.

Learning outcomes
On completion of the module students will be able to critically evaluate:
- how non-experts perceive risks, how their risk perceptions deviate from those of experts, and how non-expert risk perceptions vary by individual characteristics
- how to communicate quantitative risk information to diverse non-expert audiences
- how to design surveys for assessing non-expert audiences’ perceptions of risks
- the main principles of risk communication design
- how to evaluate the effectiveness of communications
- the main findings in the academic field of risk perception and communication, its most important methods, results, and controversies
- the methodological standards used within the field for determining the trustworthiness of results
- how to critically read scientific articles in risk perception and communication

Skills outcomes
On completion of this module students will be able to:
- communicate to an advanced standard to a variety of audiences
- undertake research and report on findings
- think critically
- generate and deploy advance decisions

Subject specific
- apply social and decision sciences to solve real-world problems


Indicative content

The syllabus covers reviews of:
- Non-expert perceptions of risk, deviations from expert perceptions of risk, variations by individual characteristics
- Interview and survey methods for assessing non-expert audiences’ perceptions of risks
- Strategies for communicating quantitative risk information to diverse non-expert audiences
- The main principles of effective risk communication design
- Methods for evaluating the effectiveness of communications
- Applications to a variety of domains, including finance, health, safety, environmental impacts

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours122.50
Total Contact hours27.50
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)150.00

Private study

Lecture-related reading: 44 hours
Seminar reading and preparation: 30 hours
Examination revision: 52.5 hours

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Students will receive verbal feedback during seminars on the contribution made to seminar discussion.

Methods of assessment

Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Standard exam (closed essays, MCQs etc)3 hr 100.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 23/09/2015


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