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

[journal article]

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.
Classification Curriculum, Teaching, Didactics; Technology Assessment
Free Keywords quantitative research; secondary school; survey; science education; attitudes; cluster analysis; modern biotechnology
Document language English
Publication Year 2007
Page/Pages p. 663-679
Journal International Journal of Science Education, 29 (2007) 5
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09500690600951556
Status Postprint; reviewed
Licence PEER Licence Agreement (applicable only to documents from PEER project)
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