ERIC Number: ED454098
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 2000-Apr-25
Scientific Literacy for All: Rationales and Realities.
Kemp, Andrew C.
This qualitative study is a critical examination of the rationales for the goal of scientific literacy for all in the United States. Eleven participants, mostly university-based science educators, were interviewed and their comments were analyzed using the methods of grounded theory (constant comparative analysis). The rationales the participants gave for the goal of scientific literacy for all can be grouped into at least four categories: Social Benefits of Science, Personal Benefits of Science, Promoting Humanity, and Control of Science. There are tensions between these categories because they have different implications for policy, programs and practices. There is little empirical evidence for any of the rationales discussed here; the participants seem to feel rationales represent philosophical or value statements, and they are not concerned by the lack of research into whether or how scientific literacy actually benefits people. It is suggested the goal would be more likely to be achieved if the rationales were convincing to the public, and that empirical studies of scientific literacy's benefits would be a step in the right direction. (Contains 18 references.) (Author)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: American Educational Research Association, Washington, DC.; Spencer Foundation, Chicago, IL.
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (New Orleans, LA, April 24-28, 2000).