Young adults’ accounts of scientific knowledge when responding to a television news report of contested science
Christensen, Clare Karen (2011) Young adults’ accounts of scientific knowledge when responding to a television news report of contested science. International Journal of Science Education, Part B: Communication and Public Engagement, 1(2), pp. 115-145.
This paper reports one aspect of a study of 28 young adults (18–26 years) engaging with the uncertain (contested) science of a television news report about recent research into mobile phone health risks. The aim of the study was to examine these young people’s ‘accounts of scientific knowledge’ in this context. Seven groups of friends responded to the news report, initially in focus group discussions. Later in semi-structured interviews they elaborated their understanding of the nature of science through their explanations of the scientists’ disagreement and described their mobile phone safety risk assessments. This paper presents their accounts in terms of their views of the nature of science and their concept understanding. Discussions were audio-recorded then analysed by coding the talk in terms of issues raised, which were grouped into themes and interpreted in terms of a moderate social constructionist theoretical framing. In this context, most participants expressed a ‘common sense’ view of the nature of science, describing it as an atheoretical, technical procedure of scientists testing their personal opinions on the issue, subject to the influence of funding sponsors. The roles of theory and data interpretation were largely ignored. It is argued that the nature of science understanding is crucial to engagement with contemporary socioscientific issues, particularly the roles of argumentation, theory, data interpretation, and the distinction of science from common sense. Implications for school science relate primarily to nature of science teaching and the inclusion of socioscientific issues in school science curricula. Future research directions are considered.
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|Item Type:||Journal Article|
|Keywords:||Nature of science, Scientific literacy, Science education, Socioscientific issues, Decision-making|
|Subjects:||Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > EDUCATION SYSTEMS (130100) > Secondary Education (130106)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > CURRICULUM AND PEDAGOGY (130200) > Science Technology and Engineering Curriculum and Pedagogy (130212)
|Divisions:||Current > Schools > School of Cultural & Professional Learning
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
|Copyright Owner:||Copyright 2011 Taylor & Francis|
|Copyright Statement:||This is an Author's Accepted Manuscript of an article published in International Journal of Science Education, Part B: Communication and Public Engagement, Vol. 1, No. 2, [September 2011] [copyright Taylor & Francis], available online at: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/21548455.2010.548658|
|Deposited On:||23 Oct 2013 23:48|
|Last Modified:||16 Dec 2013 16:56|
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