Attitudes Toward Science: A Review of the Field

Attitudes Toward Science: A Review of the Field


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"Since Western societies vigorously promote the development of scientific literate citizens as an important task of schools, the lack of students’ interest in science, or the under-representation of women and visible minorities in science and technology related professions are concerns that are discussed in political and educational circles. Research on attitudes toward science is one of the fields that addresses these concerns and has the potential to provide solutions for changing practice. Among educators and researchers alike, it is commonly assumed that students’ attitudes in science influence their learning outcomes, their science course selections, and their future career choice (Koballa, 1988; Laforgia, 1988). Thus, changing attitudes should lead to changing be- haviour. A look into various science education and educational psychology journals and other publications in this area reveals a fascinating potpourri of research on attitudes to science. Topics currently addressed in that literature include (i) students’ attitudes to- ward schooling and different school subjects in comparison to science; and (ii) students’ attitudes toward science as a discipline and a school subject. Other studies focus on the relations between attitudes toward science and (iii) different instructional strategies (e.g., hands-on, co-operative); (iv) areas of school science (e.g., environmental science, physical sciences); and (v) students’ achievement. Some research projects look at (vi) the influence of teacher behaviour toward students’ attitudes, or concentrate (vii) on the relationship between attitudes to science and variables external to the classroom such as age, gender, ethnicity, and grade level. It seems that research on attitudes to sci- ence and any other variable(s) is virtually endless. The following chapter will not even attempt to provide an overview of this huge and multifaceted research field. Instead, following an overview that describes attitudes, introduces a major theoretical model of attitudes, and describes the still unresolved issue of measuring attitudes, this chapter will critically summarize some of the current research on attitudes toward science. The focus of this literature review will be on studies that research attitudes toward science as the dependent variable. Finally, the chapter will close with further suggestions for research in the area of attitudes."



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Science Teaching, Science Teacher, Behavioural Intention, Goal Orientation, Instructional Strategy


Science and Mathematics Education


In William W. Cobern, Ken Tobin, Henry Brown-Acquay, Mariona Espinet, Gurol Irzik, Olugbemiro Jegede, Lilia Reyes Herrera, Marrisa Rollnick, Svein Sjøberg, Hsiao-lin Tuan, and Steve Alsop (Eds.), Beyond Cartesian Dualism: Encountering Affect in the Teaching and Learning of Science.

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Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2005

Attitudes Toward Science: A Review of the Field