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Norwegian Bioethics Attitude Survey (NOBAS)

NOBAS aims to inform bioethical discussions with reliable and in-depth data on the public’s views on pressing issues in bioethics.

scientist researching genes or manipulating dna sequence

What is the Norwegian public's view on manipulating dna sequence? Illustration:colourbox

About the project

The public has a voracious appetite for events, issues and conflicts in healthcare and bioethics. In a liberal democracy public attitudes are quite pertinent for policy formation. Often, simple attitude surveys on burning ethical issues are conducted and presented in the media. However, such surveys typically have several methodological shortcomings, including biased questions. NOBAS aims to provide reliable data on public attitudes in bioethics, through surveys with a deeper exploration of the topics and with sound methodology.

In 2015, attitudes towards assisted dying and issues at the beginning of life were surveyed. In 2017, attitudes towards prenatal diagnosis, issues in clinical ethics such as shared decision-making, and conscientious objection were surveyed. 


  1. To investigate the public’s views on important contemporary bioethical issues.
  2. To detect, characterize and explain changes in public attitudes over time.
  3. To explore issues pertaining to questionnaire research methodology.


Magelssen M, Solberg B, Supphellen M, Haugen G. "Attitudes to prenatal screening among Norwegian citizens: liberality, ambivalence and sensitivity". BMC Medical Ethics 2018; 19: 80.

Magelssen M, Supphellen M, Nortvedt P, Materstvedt LJ. “Attitudes towards assisted dying are influenced by question wording and order: a survey experiment”. BMC Medical Ethics 2016; 17: 24.

2015 report (in Norwegian)



The project has received contributory funding by non-governmental organizations that take a special interest in the public’s views on bioethics. The following organizations have contributed to financing the 2015 and 2017 editions:

  • Foreningen Retten til en verdig død
  • Indremisjonsforbundet
  • Menneskeverd
  • Normisjon

The financers have no influence on the questionnaire design, research methodology or analysis of the data.


The project is a cooperation between the Centre for Medical Ethics and the Norwegian School of Economics.

Start - finish

2015 -

Published Apr. 20, 2015 4:54 PM - Last modified Oct. 3, 2018 11:31 AM