Academics conduct research to help people become vegan

MANY of us may wonder why veganism comes naturally to some while others struggle to keep up with it, and two academics from Edge Hill University are on a mission to find out why.

Dr Richard Twine and Professor Claire Parkinson, who are both Co-Directors of Edge Hill’s Centre for Human-Animal Studies (CfHAS), have received funding from The Vegan Society which will help them conduct research exploring the reasons stopping people from becoming vegan, with results expected to be published at the end of the year.

Research questions will be directed at non-vegans and aim to explore how the public perceives veganism and which messages or tactics are effective in the promotion of the lifestyle.

The project will involve a questionnaire and household interviews exploring barriers to veganism, and focus groups to establish what constitutes effective communication.

Dr Twine said: “This is an exciting opportunity to enter into dialogue with non-vegans on the subject of veganism, to better understand what veganism means to them and to explore this in terms of social differences such as gender and age. We hope we can make a further contribution through this work to the growing literature on sustainable transition.”

“With so many media messages competing for our attention every day, this research can help to answer questions about the efficacy of advocacy communication strategies. Thanks to this funding from The Vegan Society, we have the chance to gain meaningful insights into how different groups receive and interpret messages about veganism,” added Professor Parkinson.

Dr Lorna Brocksopp, Research Officer at The Vegan Society, said: “Despite the world increasingly heading in the vegan direction, there are a number of difficulties that prevent people from transitioning, and we’d like to recognise and tackle those.

“There are many methods of vegan outreach but it’s unclear which are effective and which aren’t, and this research will change that.

“We hope it will inform our work, as well as that of other vegan organisations and activists, to help more people go vegan and stay vegan.”