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postgraduate thesis: Understanding of nature of science and evaluation of science in the media among non-science majors

TitleUnderstanding of nature of science and evaluation of science in the media among non-science majors
Authors
Advisors
Issue Date2013
PublisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)
Citation
Leung, S. J. [梁淑貞]. (2013). Understanding of nature of science and evaluation of science in the media among non-science majors. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.5353/th_b5016262
AbstractScientific literacy has been recognized internationally for its importance as a goal of science education. Lying at the core of scientific literacy is understandings of nature of science (NOS). A desired outcome from a scientifically literate populace is – critical evaluation of reports and discussions about science in the media. It is generally assumed that an informed conception of NOS will lead to this desired outcome of scientific literacy. Yet this assumption remains untested. The purpose of this research study was to examine the relationship, if any, between NOS understandings and the quality of evaluating science in the media. Sixty-four non-science majors from a local community college participated in the study. Participants were asked to evaluate on three health-related news articles reporting scientific claims by completing the Health News Evaluation Questionnaire. Their NOS understandings were assessed by the Views about Science Questionnaire. Participants were invited for a follow-up interview to further probe their NOS conceptions and quality of evaluating science news articles. The quality of evaluation, and the application and prioritization of criteria by each participant were analyzed. These were compared with the level of NOS understandings. Reasons for applying or not applying and for prioritizing or not prioritizing the NOS-related criteria were also examined in the follow-up interview. No correlation was identified between the non-science majors’ understanding on the targeted aspects of NOS and their frequency of application of these concepts in evaluating the science news except the followings where significant correlations, though weak, were identified. These include understanding of the peer view process and its frequency of application in evaluating (i) Article 2 on the effect of calorie on body weight and memory (r=0.325, p<0.05), (ii) Article 3 on cell phone controversies (r=0.326, p<0.05) and (iii) all the 3 news articles as a whole (r=0.381, p<0.05). Correlations are also identified between understanding of the peer review process and the level of sophistication with its application in the evaluation of Article 2 (r=0.345, p<0.05) and all the three articles as a whole (r=0.39, p<0.05). Another intriguing finding was that understanding of the tentative NOS was found to be correlated with the stance adopted in the evaluation of Article 3 (r=0.434, p<0.05). The poor performance of the participants in evaluating science in the media was attributed to the lack of awareness for the important role of NOS understandings, unfamiliarity with the application of NOS understandings, and compartmentalization among various NOS aspects. These were possible culprits for successful transformation of NOS understandings to critical evaluation of science in the media. Based on the findings, it is argued that NOS understandings are a necessary, but not sufficient, condition for critical evaluation of science in the media. Three additional conditions are suggested: (1) awareness towards the importance and the need in making reference to NOS understandings, (2) ability to apply NOS understandings, and (3) understanding the interconnectedness among various NOS aspects would aid successful transformation of NOS understandings to critical evaluation of science in the media.
DegreeDoctor of Philosophy
SubjectScience - Study and teaching (Higher)
Science in mass media
Dept/ProgramEducation
Persistent Identifierhttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/183048

 

DC FieldValueLanguage
dc.contributor.advisorWong, ASL-
dc.contributor.advisorYung, BHW-
dc.contributor.authorLeung, Shuk-ching, Jessica.-
dc.contributor.author梁淑貞.-
dc.date.accessioned2013-05-12T08:01:00Z-
dc.date.available2013-05-12T08:01:00Z-
dc.date.issued2013-
dc.identifier.citationLeung, S. J. [梁淑貞]. (2013). Understanding of nature of science and evaluation of science in the media among non-science majors. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.5353/th_b5016262-
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/183048-
dc.description.abstractScientific literacy has been recognized internationally for its importance as a goal of science education. Lying at the core of scientific literacy is understandings of nature of science (NOS). A desired outcome from a scientifically literate populace is – critical evaluation of reports and discussions about science in the media. It is generally assumed that an informed conception of NOS will lead to this desired outcome of scientific literacy. Yet this assumption remains untested. The purpose of this research study was to examine the relationship, if any, between NOS understandings and the quality of evaluating science in the media. Sixty-four non-science majors from a local community college participated in the study. Participants were asked to evaluate on three health-related news articles reporting scientific claims by completing the Health News Evaluation Questionnaire. Their NOS understandings were assessed by the Views about Science Questionnaire. Participants were invited for a follow-up interview to further probe their NOS conceptions and quality of evaluating science news articles. The quality of evaluation, and the application and prioritization of criteria by each participant were analyzed. These were compared with the level of NOS understandings. Reasons for applying or not applying and for prioritizing or not prioritizing the NOS-related criteria were also examined in the follow-up interview. No correlation was identified between the non-science majors’ understanding on the targeted aspects of NOS and their frequency of application of these concepts in evaluating the science news except the followings where significant correlations, though weak, were identified. These include understanding of the peer view process and its frequency of application in evaluating (i) Article 2 on the effect of calorie on body weight and memory (r=0.325, p<0.05), (ii) Article 3 on cell phone controversies (r=0.326, p<0.05) and (iii) all the 3 news articles as a whole (r=0.381, p<0.05). Correlations are also identified between understanding of the peer review process and the level of sophistication with its application in the evaluation of Article 2 (r=0.345, p<0.05) and all the three articles as a whole (r=0.39, p<0.05). Another intriguing finding was that understanding of the tentative NOS was found to be correlated with the stance adopted in the evaluation of Article 3 (r=0.434, p<0.05). The poor performance of the participants in evaluating science in the media was attributed to the lack of awareness for the important role of NOS understandings, unfamiliarity with the application of NOS understandings, and compartmentalization among various NOS aspects. These were possible culprits for successful transformation of NOS understandings to critical evaluation of science in the media. Based on the findings, it is argued that NOS understandings are a necessary, but not sufficient, condition for critical evaluation of science in the media. Three additional conditions are suggested: (1) awareness towards the importance and the need in making reference to NOS understandings, (2) ability to apply NOS understandings, and (3) understanding the interconnectedness among various NOS aspects would aid successful transformation of NOS understandings to critical evaluation of science in the media.-
dc.languageeng-
dc.publisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)-
dc.relation.ispartofHKU Theses Online (HKUTO)-
dc.rightsThe author retains all proprietary rights, (such as patent rights) and the right to use in future works.-
dc.rightsCreative Commons: Attribution 3.0 Hong Kong License-
dc.source.urihttp://hub.hku.hk/bib/B50162627-
dc.subject.lcshScience - Study and teaching (Higher)-
dc.subject.lcshScience in mass media-
dc.titleUnderstanding of nature of science and evaluation of science in the media among non-science majors-
dc.typePG_Thesis-
dc.identifier.hkulb5016262-
dc.description.thesisnameDoctor of Philosophy-
dc.description.thesislevelDoctoral-
dc.description.thesisdisciplineEducation-
dc.description.naturepublished_or_final_version-
dc.identifier.doi10.5353/th_b5016262-
dc.date.hkucongregation2013-

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