High School Students' Knowledge and Attitudes regarding Biotechnology Applications

By Özel, Murat; Erdogan, Mehmet et al. | Kuram ve Uygulamada Egitim Bilimleri, Winter 2009 | Go to article overview

High School Students' Knowledge and Attitudes regarding Biotechnology Applications


Özel, Murat, Erdogan, Mehmet, Usak, Muhammet, Prokop, Pavol, Kuram ve Uygulamada Egitim Bilimleri


Abstract

The purpose of this study was to investigate high school students' knowledge and attitudes regarding biotechnology and its various applications. In addition, whether students' knowledge and attitudes differed according to age and gender were also explored. The Biotechnology Knowledge Questionnaire (BKQ) with 16 items and the Biotechnology Attitude Questionnaire (BAQ) with 37 items which were adapted into Turkish were administrated to 352 high school students. The data were analyzed by making use of both inferential and descriptive statistics. The results showed that students attained poor knowledge regarding biotechnology and its various applications. We found no statistically significant difference between male and female high school students with regard to biotechnology knowledge. On the other hand, we found significant impact of age on biotechnology knowledge. The effects of gender and age were found significant on attitudes. Furthermore, a significant difference was observed between male and female students with regard to attitudes toward biotechnology and its applications in favor of males. The older the students were the more positive attitudes they had.

Key Words

Biotechnology, Attitude, Knowledge, High School Student.

One of the most important scientific and technological developments in twenty first century has been biotechnology and its applications in several areas (Pardo, Midden, & Miller, 2002). The discussions on biotechnology practices have been attracted by both applied sciences and social sciences (Simonneaux, Albe, Ducamp & Simonneaux, 2005). However, the acceptance of biotechnology and its applications in general public includes complex processes with societal attitudes and beliefs (Peters, Lang, Sawicka & Hallman, 2007). This can be effectively understood through developing science and technology literacy (Durant, Evans & Thomas, 1992). In this sense, Goodrum, Hackling, and Rennie (2001) and Osborne (2000) claimed that science curricula should help develop individuals' decision making in the controversial issues like biotechnology. Research studies performed in this area are more about social and moral aspects of biotechnology (Pardo et al., 2002; Saez, Niño, & Carretero, 2008), biotechnology knowledge (Gunter, Kinderlerer & Beyleveld, 1998; Priest, Bonfadelli, & Rusanen, 2003; Qin, & Brown, 2007), consumers' opinions and attitudes toward biotechnology (Arvanitoyannis, & Krystallis, 2005; Lea, 2005; Moon & Balasubramanian, 2004; Pardo et al., 2002; Saba, & Vassalo, 2002; Saher, Lindeman, & Hursti, 2006; Sturgis, Cooper, & Fife- Schaw, 2005; Zechendorf, 1994), students' and teachers' knowledge and attitudes regarding genetically modified organisms (GMO; Chen, & Raffan, 1999; Dawson, 2007; Dawson, & Schibeci, 2003a, 2003b; Dawson & Soames, 2006; Hill, Stanisstreet, O'Sullivan, & Boyes, 1999; Klop, & Severiens, 2007; Lamanauskas & Makarskaite-Petkeviciene, 2008; Lock, & Miles, 1993; Massarani, & Moreira, 2005; Prokop et al., 2007), general tendencies on GMO(s) (Klop, & Severiens, 2007; Saez et al., 2008), and effects of biotechnology instruction on knowledge and attitude regarding biotechnology (Lock, Miles & Hugles, 1995; Olsher & Dreyful, 1999). Furthermore, the relationship between students' knowledge and attitudes were also investigated in the literature (DiEnno & Hilton, 2005; European Commission, 2001; Tikka, Kuitunen & Tynys, 2000; Weaver, 2002)

Despite its importance, the number of the research studies on biotechnology attitude and knowledge in Turkey are rather limited. Only two studies on this topic were found in Turkish literature (e.g., Darçin & Türkmen, 2006; Türkmen & Darçin, 2007)

Purpose of the Study

This study aimed at investigating Turkish high school students' knowledge and attitudes regarding biotechnology and its various applications. …

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