Laypersons’ Evaluation of Socioscientific Issues: Types of Justification Criteria and the Influence of Reading Prompts

Aditomo, Anindito (2017) Laypersons’ Evaluation of Socioscientific Issues: Types of Justification Criteria and the Influence of Reading Prompts. Research in Science & Technological Education. ISSN 1470-1138 (Submitted)

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Epistemic criteria laypersons use when reasoning about socioscientific issues - submitted (Aditomo).pdf - Submitted Version
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Background: When laypersons evaluate claims about socioscientific issues presented in the media, they engage in epistemic cognition and draw upon their beliefs about knowledge. These beliefs include ideas about the criteria by which knowledge can be judged or justified. Relatively few studies have explored these justification criteria. Purpose: This study sought to: (a) identify the various types of justification criteria laypersons employ when making sense of and evaluating news about socioscientific issues, and (b) test whether a simple reading prompt could enhance this evaluation process. Sample: 79 first-semester university students (mean age 18 years) who have not enrolled in any university-level science course. Design and Methods: Participants read an essay on climate change and evaluated the strength of its argument. Content analysis was performed to identify and quantify the frequencies of the various criteria participants used to justify their views about the essay. A between-subjects design was used to randomly assign participants to either to a “reading prompt” or a control group. Result: The findings show that when evaluating news about climate change, laypersons considered various aspects of the source (who or where the information came from), characteristics of the empirical evidence, and the perceived plausibility of the explanations offered.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Epistemic cognition, beliefs, socioscientific issue , justification for knowing, content analysis
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: Faculty of Psychology > Department of Psychology
Depositing User: Anindito Aditomo 205003
Date Deposited: 13 Feb 2017 05:11
Last Modified: 13 Feb 2017 05:11

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