New Perspectives in Science Education

Edition 13

Accepted Abstracts

A Study on Students’ Attitude towards Controversial Science Contents: An Evidence-Based Delineation of Varied Conceptualisation of Socioscientific Issues

Jamil Mikhail Yahaya, Federal University College of Education (Nigeria)

Ahmad Nurulazam Md Zain, Universiti Sains Malaysia (Malaysia)

Mageswary Karpudewan, Universiti Sains Malaysia (Malaysia)


There are quite a number of controversial scientific issues that are traditionally, culturally, politically sensitive in one community but neutral and even given much emphasis in science teaching in another community. The objective of this study was to ascertain controversial scientific issues that have traditional, cultural, political, economic or spiritual concern among 260 college students in Nigeria by measuring their attitude towards some controversial science content of a course. The issues are totally neutral or beneficial in some other parts of the world or cultures but there were mixed responses during an attempted introduction of the content and including it in the national curriculum. After the introduction of the course and its content to the students, a 4-point attitude scale was administered to measure their attitude with reference to interest, perceived ability, value and commitment.  Data collected was analysed using t-test to find out the attitudes of the students. Also a preliminary descriptive statistics was used in the data analysis to find out the mean, median and modal class of the scores obtained from the scale in addition to oral interview to triangulate the quantitative data obtained.

After checking for outliers and testing for reliability and normality of the distribution of the scores, the result of the descriptive statistics indicated that there is a difference in the mean scores of the students using a scale mean of m = 2.5 (n = 251) m = < 2.27, SD = .35. The median was found to be med = 2.24 and the modal class fall to mod = 2.18 on the overall. A qualitative data were collected and analysed the findings of which elaborated the understanding of the quantitative findings made. 

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