Views on the Orientation of Science in Decision-Making Revealed in Undergraduate Students' Discussion on Socio-Scientific Issues

  • Jho, Hunkoog (Dankook University) ;
  • Song, Jinwoong (Seoul National University) ;
  • Levinson, Ralph (Institute of Education, University of London)
  • Received : 2012.12.03
  • Accepted : 2013.03.16
  • Published : 2013.05.31


The aim of this study was to identify students' views on the orientation of science and to investigate the relationship between their views and decision-making on socio-scientific issues (SSI). In this study, 27 university students attending a science course were asked to discuss four controversial issues: the Toyota recall, the green car, the global warming and swine influenza (influenza A (H1N1)). The study was comprised of two stages. At the first stage, we examined students' views on the nature of science and on the orientation of science with the open-ended questionnaire based on VNOS and VOSTS. While they held relatively similar views on the nature of science, their views on the orientation of science were distinct as pragmatic, intrinsic, communal and ethical views. At the second stage, to examine the role of their views on the orientation of science in decision-making, we selected four students who had similar views on NOS but different views on the orientation of science. The four students were selected from each group of views on the orientation of science and their decision-making processes were analyzed following grounded theory. Across SSIs, they relied upon their views on the orientation of science as the strategies for decision, though considered different perception, and causal and contextual conditions. This study indicates that understanding students' views on the orientation of science would be helpful for achieving scientific literacy for informed decision.


orientation of science;discussion;decision-making;socio-scientific issue;nature of science


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