Take a quiz with a digital focus 

Linköping University took an innovative approach in recruiting new students with the quiz walk “The Most Difficult Quiz in the World”. The LiU quiz walk was both a physical and a virtual walk, with questions related to current topics in society. It was accompanied by podcasts where researchers discussed the various issues raised.  

Picture at one quiz, placed in the city of Norrköping

Quiz walks (“tipspromenad” in Swedish) are a Swedish phenomenon in which questions are posted along a route that the participants follow, answering them as they go.

"This is something other than a glossy advertising brochure, and represents exactly what we want Linköping University to stand for. It shows that we take the majors societal challenges seriously, and that we want to stimulate people to think, reflect, and seek knowledge," says Björn-Ola Linnér, who carries out climate-focused research at Linköping University.

"The Most Difficult Quiz in the World" could be physically followed in Norrköping, Linköping and Stockholm during a few weeks in the beginning of 2018. It was also possible to take a virtual walk on the university website. The quiz walk consisted of ten questions with three alternative answers, and it differed from traditional quizzes in that there was no correct answer. Any one of the answers could be correct, depending on how the issue is handled. Each question was accompanied by a podcast in which researchers from several disciplines discussed the issue. Björn-Ola Linnér and Malin Granath, senior lecturer in information systems at Linköping University, discussed in their podcast what we must do to reach the climate targets, and ensure the planet's long-term survival.

Björn-Ola Linnér and Malin GranathBjörn-Ola Linnér och Malin Granath"Meeting in this way was really exciting. It's always useful to meet researchers from other fields, since it forces you to think through your own research one more time. The fields in which Björn-Ola and I work can be united in different ways. They complement each other, which means that it's really interesting," says Malin Granath.

Nowadays, a lot of news is spread through social media, and fake news has become a concept that is used to describe the phenomenon of misleading news. It has become more important than ever to make a stand for true, science-based knowledge.

"Quite so," agrees Björn-Ola Linnér. "It's most important to communicate knowledge that trains us as individuals and citizens to reflect, set a value on knowledge, and make our own well-founded decisions. We can use this campaign to evaluate knowledge, which is vital in the current age of twitter politics."

The purpose of the quiz was not only to arouse interest for the research carried out at Linköping University, but also to make it more accessible, and in this way stimulate the interest of potential students for contemporary challenges.

Björn-Ola LinnérBjörn-Ola Linnér"My own field of research, which deals with climate adaptation, requires new expertise and an enormous degree of commitment to reach the climate targets. For young people today, it is important that the education and their subsequent career make a difference, and this inspires me with hope," says Björn-Ola Linnér.

Discussing a topic during a short podcast of only 10 minutes was a challenge for the researchers, but they didn't hesitate when asked.

"It's completely in line with what I do every day, since I work in a field where we study the design, usage, and consequences of IT. I listen to podcasts myself, and would be very happy if there were more podcasts dealing with research-based conversations. One difficulty was that the issues in the quiz didn't quite match my own research, so I was constantly trying to reinterpret the question so that I could give as clear examples as possible from my everyday life", says Malin Granath.

So what is the significance of science in societal development?

Malin GranathMalin Granath"The short answer is that it is important that the research that is carried out benefits society. I'm convinced that we contribute to the development of society in many ways. One of these is the direct contribution that comes from the projects we participate in as researchers. These contribute not only to the activity we are studying, but also in more general terms. We also contribute by educating students, which involves the transfer of knowledge from our various research projects into our courses, and in this way we pass knowledge and learning onwards," says Malin Granath.

"I see science as one of the most important pillars on which to create a sustainable society. We must create a knowledge base that's as reliable as possible, both for decision-makers and individuals," Björn-Ola Linnér adds.