Who are you, and what do you do?
I am a psychologist at the University of Erfurt where I work at the Center for Empirical Research in Economics and Behavioral Science. My current major research motivation is to enlighten vaccine hesitancy – i.e. to understand why people do not vaccinate and finally to contribute to public health goals such as measles elimination. Additionally, I would like to improve evidence-informed health communication. I do this by applying an experimental JDM approach, combined with a strategic interaction perspective to basic and applied questions. My credo is that good research strives for a fundamental understanding of scientific problems and, at the same time, for high usability to solve societal problems. This perspective on research is also known as Pasteur’s Quadrant (really interesting work by Stokes, 1997). Thus, making contributions to understand basic questions is as important to me as making findings usable for practice. Working with colleagues from other disciplines and health organizations is key to me, as my work combines ideas and approaches from psychology, epidemiology, and economics.
What do you consider your most important research tool(s) on your computer?
Safari, Word, SPSS – very simple. Email is great to be in touch with co-workers, but it is the greatest enemy of effective working, too. Sometimes I also follow twitter – it’s a great way to see what happens among practitioners, but actually I feel that it is too time-consuming.
What do you consider your most important research tool(s) outside of your computer?
Talking and listening to practitioners has become my most influential, favorite, important, and fun research tool. Listening to what practitioners struggle with and mapping this to my theoretical ideas and understanding is very inspiring and has created some successful research ideas. I get the chance to listen to practitioners after invited talks or advanced trainings of doctors, or during my work in committees such as the European Technical Advisory Group of Experts in Immunization (ETAGE, WHO, regional office for Europe) or the National Verification Committee for the Elimination of Measles and Rubella (Robert Koch Institute, German Ministry of Health).
What is your favorite tip for getting writing done?
Turn off your email program. Or travel. Airports, trains, waiting rooms are perfect – you will not miss out on anything sitting there, listening to Bach, writing. I recommend Bach’s Goldberg Variations – they deliver a constant flow for a steady rhythm of typing and mask superfluous noise and thoughts.
Curriculum vitae Cornelia Betsch
Cornelia’s favorite paper:
Betsch, C., Böhm, R., & Korn, L. (2013). Inviting free-riders or appealing to pro-social behavior? Game theoretical reflections on communicating herd immunity in vaccine advocacy. Health Psychology, 32(9):978-85.