New Perspectives in Science Education

Edition 13

Accepted Abstracts

Controversy Mapping for Studying Socioscientific Issues: Case Study of a Local Problem in Spain

Naira Díaz-Moreno, University of Almería (Spain)


Learning science implies learning to transfer scientific models in order to analyze contextualized scenarios and make decisions. In science education, this aspect is well represented by science learning activities around controversial socio-scientific issues (SSI). The approach that press takes on news on SSI can be a starting point and a driver of learning to develop scientific literacy throughout the population. Such news on SSI can be used in the science classroom to show to the students the different points of view on these science-in-the-making subjects and their social repercussions.This study is part of a larger project with the objective of identifying indicators of SSI in the written press, applying those indicators to a concrete topic and analyzing their usefulness for generalizing identification of any topic in the press as a SSI or not. Hence, in this paper, we attempt to fill the gap existing in how a subject is identified as a SSI, showing some new indicators for news on SSI and moreover presenting the use of the “Controversy Mapping”. The “Controversy Mapping” methodology allows us to carry out a depth study on SSI analyzing the links among the networks of actants, types of event of the news and socioscientific trends in the news. As a result after applying this method to our case study, the case of water in Almeria (Spain), we find two new SSI indicators generalizable to other subjects. Therefore this methodology is a good instrument to study news with SSI that teachers can implement in the science classroom in order to study the different dimensions of the SSI as well as the complexity and diversity in the discordant points of view on a SSI.


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