Public Knowledge of and Attitudes to Science: Alternative Measures That May End the “Science War”

Science, Technology, and Human Values 25 (1):30-51 (2000)
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Abstract

Research on the public understanding of science has measured knowledge as acquaintance with scientific facts and methods and attitudes as evaluations of societal consequences of science and technology. The authors propose alternative concepts and measures: knowledge of the workings of scientific institutions and attitudes to the nature of science. The viability, reliability, and validity of the new measures are demonstrated on British and Bulgarian data. The instrument consists of twenty items and takes ten to fifteen minutes to apply. Differences in the representation of science are reported between the British and Bulgarian young elite, between the elite and the public in Bulgaria, between natural and social science students, and between beginners and advanced students in Britain. The use of these measures will extend the scope of science indicator measures used by the European Commission and the National Science Foundation, help the assessment of the socialization in university training, and may even contribute to the peace process in the “science wars.”

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References found in this work

The unnatural nature of science.Lewis Wolpert - 1992 - Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
Social Stratification in Science.Jonathan R. Cole & Stephen Cole - 1974 - Science and Society 38 (3):374-378.
Die Wissenschaft der Gesellschaft.N. Luhmann - 1992 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 54 (3):563-564.

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