The Influences of Films on Child Perceptions of Science and Scientists

Evans, Mel (2015) The Influences of Films on Child Perceptions of Science and Scientists. Masters thesis, University of Gloucestershire.

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Abstract

Many films contain science and scientists and therefore have the potential to influence audience perceptions of science and scientists. However, there is a lack of research on the influence that such films might have, particularly in children. This study examined whether children’s perceptions of scientific principles, ethics and scientists was changed in response to film clips with scientific content with particular reference to age and gender. Data were obtained from 181 students at the National Student Travel Foundation (NSTF) Science Expo in Malta. Younger (5-10 years) and older (11-16 years) classes of students watched four clips from films containing science or scientists then answered a series of open and closed questions on each clip that were designed to check their perceptions and whether the clips had influenced them. The findings showed that students were influenced by both scientific content and the portrayal of scientists in film clips. Scientist characters in particular were able to shape student’s opinions about science to be more positive or negative although attitudes towards both science and scientists were mostly positive overall. Males saw more possibilities in the future of science and prioritised excitement and results whereas females were more discerning about film content and focused on scientific testing and safety. Younger students displayed more stereotypes towards scientist appearance although both younger and older students succumbed to behavioural stereotypes. Suggestions for future research and the wider applications of this study are made, particularly regarding the increase of film clips used as an educational tool and the discussion of scientists in lessons.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Science education in schools, Portrayal of science in films
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB1501 Primary Education
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB1603 Secondary Education. High schools
Q Science > Q Science (General)
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Natural & Social Sciences
Depositing User: Susan Turner
Date Deposited: 21 Mar 2016 16:05
Last Modified: 21 Mar 2016 16:05
URI: http://eprints.glos.ac.uk/id/eprint/3273

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