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ERIC Number: EJ1134427
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014
Pages: 20
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-2154-8455
Do Zoo Visitors Need Zoology Knowledge to Understand Conservation Messages? An Exploration of the Public Understanding of Animal Biology and of the Conservation of Biodiversity in a Zoo Setting
Dove, Tracy; Byrne, Jenny
International Journal of Science Education, Part B: Communication and Public Engagement, v4 n4 p323-342 2014
This study explores the current knowledge and understanding about animal biology of zoo visitors and investigates whether knowledge of animal biology influences the ability of people to understand how human activity affects biodiversity. Zoos can play a role in the development of scientific literacy in the fields of animal biology and biodiversity conservation via conservation education programmes by building on existing knowledge, as well as by challenging and correcting misconceptions. A survey of the knowledge and understanding of groups of zoo visitors about a variety of topics in animal biology was carried out. The study found that the knowledge and understanding of zoo visitors regarding basic animal biology is fairly secure but that their ideas about more complex concepts, such as ecological interdependence and physiological needs are unsophisticated and, at times, confused. Visitors found some topics to be particularly challenging, and some common misconceptions have been identified. However, in other topics they have shown their understanding to be greater than would perhaps be expected from the existing literature. The findings enabled a modified version of the Conservation Triangle proposed by Tunnicliffe [(1999). "Zoos as centres of conservation education for primary school pupils." "Proceedings of the 9th Symposium of the International Organization for Science and Technology (IOSTE)," Vol. 2, 688-695. Durban, South Africa: University of Durban-Westville] to be developed that illustrates the knowledge and understanding deficit of zoo visitors via a hierarchy of biological concepts. Furthermore, findings suggest that zoo visitors are reasonably well informed about the effect that human activities can have on the natural world, although this is not necessarily their primary interest when they visit a zoo.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom (England)
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A