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ERIC Number: ED522563
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 218
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1243-4265-8
Exploring the Effects of Communication Framed by Environmental Concern in Informal Science Education Contexts
Yocco, Victor S.
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, The Ohio State University
Informal science education (ISE) venues such as zoos, nature centers, parks, and natural history museums play a critical role in allowing the general public to learn scientific concepts (National Research Council, 2009; 2010). Most adult learning of scientific concepts takes place outside of classrooms and away from work (Rennie and Williams, 2006). It is also true that zoos and natural history museums have stated missions regarding conveying concepts related to the conservation of our natural resources (Krishtalka and Humphrey, 2000; Patrick, Mathews, Ayers, and Tunicliffe, 2007). Theoretically, the successful communication of the desired message of these ISE institutions would inspire a more informed citizenry on the use and conservation of our natural resources. Framing communication is to present a topic in a manner that promote a specific view of the information. Effectively framing information can be an avenue to achieving the goal of ISE institutions (Chong & Druckman, 2007; Nisbet, 2009). Shultz and Zelezny (2003) posit that messages framed by egoistic concerns, concerns which focus on the individual, will be better received by the general public, leading to a greater likelihood for them to become engaged. This dissertation reports on a series of descriptive mixed methods studies conducted at a zoo, a natural history museum, and a science center, exploring the framing effects of communications framed by environmental concern (Schultz, 2001). In two of the studies the researcher examined the relationship between individuals' perceptions of the overlap between their lives and nature, their levels of environmental concern, and their preferences for statements designed to align with the types of environmental concern (i.e. egoistic, social-altruistic, and biospheric). Two studies were conducted using a quasi-experimental design in which the researcher randomly assigned messages framed by environmental concern while also taking measurements of prior involvement. A measure of future intention was taken to allow for comparison between messages. Lastly, interviews of visitors to a science center were conducted to uncover a deeper understanding of the results from the previous four studies. Findings suggest that while there is a relationship between individuals' feeling of overlap between nature and their level of environmental concern they are two separate psychological constructs. Visitors prefer the biospheric framed statement regardless of their level of concern or feeling of overlap with nature. Shultz and Zelezney's (2003) assertion regarding the effectiveness of egoistic framed messages was refuted by the results of the quasi-experimental studies, in which participants who received the biospheric framed messages expressed a significantly greater intent to engage in environmentally friendly behaviors than those who received the egoistic framed messages. Implications to theory from these results include that there is little evidence to support visiting a zoo increases one's feeling of closeness with nature, however it does seem that individuals' levels of biospheric concern increases, perhaps temporarily, by a form of perspective taking which occurs during the visit. Implications to practice include the need to consider context when developing a message (e.g. a visit to the zoo as opposed to a visit to a botanical garden). Future research suggested includes comparing samples gathered from other venues (e.g. sporting events), the need for research on memory or retention of these messages long term, and the need for studies on repeated exposure to messages over time. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A