New Perspectives in Science Education

Edition 13

Accepted Abstracts

The Sources of Information Contributing to the Cancer’s Representations of a Scholar Public

Robert Andres, ESPE Bourgogne (France)

Sebastien Malpel, Laboratoire CIMEOS. Universite de Bourgogne (France)

Nathalie Pinsard, ESPE Bourgogne (France)

Philippe Ricaud, CIMEOS Laboratory - University of Burgundy (France)

Emmanuella Di Scala, Espé and Laboratory Ciméos 51 rue charles dumont 21000 Dijon (France)


Throughout a large study on cancer’s representations among pupils from Year 5 to the second year of master, we got an interest at the different sources of information on this young public. To do so, we asked the pupils where they first heard of cancer. This question is even more important to ask as this disease is the most cited among young people and is associated to dark representations (death and sufferings), while it is not really studied at school until Year 12 (with a specialization in sciences). It is thus legitimate to question the different sources that structure the representations of a young public.
Our results showed that the family and media spheres are the two main sources of information on cancer. The family sphere is slightly dominant among young pupils but its impact decreases whilst they grow up. In the meantime, media becomes the main source of information, particularly thanks to television. Peers, the scholar sphere and the medical sphere are three other sources though relatively not much influential: the school and medical spheres even seem to be absent from the different sources of information among the youngest pupils.
The social practices, values and opinions mainly come from family, media and, to a lesser degree, peers, seem to be the main sources of information structuring the cancer’s representations on the young public studied. The knowledge issued from the scholar and medical spheres are, on the other end, less dominant. Even though medicine has made much progress regarding the recovery from many cancers, the notion of death associated to this disease is still dominant among the studied public’s representations.
Thus, the scholar sphere seems to be almost absent from the sources of information structuring these representations, while the representations are the result of three sources including values/opinions, social practices and knowledge. It is thus interesting to understand how these familial and media sources of information structure these representations and how the scholar sphere can get involved.

Keywords: cancer, representation, sources of information, familymedia;


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