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An exploration of attitudes towards modern biotechnology: a study among Dutch secondary school students


Klop, Tanja; Severiens, Sabine E.


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Abstract Modern biotechnology will have a large impact on society and requires informed decision-making and critical attitudes toward biotechnology among the public. This study aims to explore these attitudes in secondary education. For this purpose, a questionnaire was constructed according to the general tripartite theory of attitudes. 574 Dutch secondary school students completed the questionnaire. Based on principal component analyses, several distinct and independent cognitive, affective, and behavioural factors were found, demonstrating that attitudes towards biotechnology are a multi-component concept. In a cluster analysis on these factors, we found four interpretable clusters representing different groups of students. The four groups are labelled as 'confident supporter' (22%), 'not sure' (42%), 'concerned sceptic' (18%) and 'not for me' (17%). These results indicate that there is a diverse appraisal of modern biotechnology amongst secondary school students. Suggestions for educational interventions are made.
Klassifikation Unterricht, Didaktik; Technikfolgenabschätzung
Freie Schlagwörter quantitative research; secondary school; survey; science education; attitudes; cluster analysis; modern biotechnology
Sprache Dokument Englisch
Publikationsjahr 2007
Seitenangabe S. 663-679
Zeitschriftentitel International Journal of Science Education, 29 (2007) 5
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09500690600951556
Status Postprint; begutachtet (peer reviewed)
Lizenz PEER Licence Agreement (applicable only to documents from PEER project)