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Studies of public understanding Science and Technology

Grant number: 15/17716-4
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Post-Doctorate
Effective date (Start): October 01, 2016
Field of knowledge:Interdisciplinary Subjects
Cooperation agreement: Coordination of Improvement of Higher Education Personnel (CAPES)
Principal Investigator:Marcelo Knobel
Grantee:Ananias Queiroga de Oliveira Filho
Home Institution: Núcleo de Desenvolvimento da Criatividade (NUDECRI). Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Campinas , SP, Brazil
Associated scholarship(s):17/23699-0 - The relationship between the meanings of science, technology and the environment and attitudes towards science, technology and the environment: a cross-cultural study, BE.EP.PD


Science and Technology (S & T) are basic elements of contemporary societies. This importance can be seen in the increasingly strong presence of the S & T content in various fields, such as in key areas of society such as education, media and politics (Jensen & Croissant, 2007; Vogt & Knobel, 2004; Bauer & Howard , 2012). Given the relevance of this topic it is essential to investigate the attitudes, the impact and understanding of society about the S & T (Vogt & Knobel, 2004). This is a relatively new field of study called "Public Understanding Science" (PUS), which has gained increasing prominence. The use of questionnaires is one of the main forms of studies in the field of PUS (Bauer & Howard, 2012; von Roten & Roten, 2013). The vast majority of large-scale research on PUS are the type survey, conducted through questionnaires. There are still qualitative research, using focus groups and case studies. Thus, one aspect worth mentioning in the field of PUS regard to data analysis using statistical methods. Overall, the research conducted underuse (or analyze wrongly) the data generated, it is restricted only to a superficial description of the results found (von Roten & Roten, 2013). Some authors have pointed out classical statistical problems in survey research, checking deficiencies from designing the questionnaire to the data analysis stage (Ross, 2013 Evans & Durant, 1995; Brown & Calvo, 2002; Miller, 2004; von Roten & Roten , 2013). Thus the present project seeks to methods and a solid theoretical framework of statistics, arising out of Psychometrics and Social Psychology, propose tools that can help overcome or mitigate methodological problems. In order to contribute more appropriately the project will be organized in two major research lines: 1. Make new analysis of data from PUS studies ever made in Brazil, making use of psychometric tools and techniques such as Structural Equation Modeling , Item Response Theory, Segmented Regression Analysis and Latent Class Analysis; 2- Conduct a cross-cultural study and make a comparison between scientists and the general population in relation to the meaning of science, technology and environment, through the Natural Semantic Networks analysis with that understand the importance of meaning in attitudes and practices in relation to S & T. Thus it is expected that the present project to deepen the understanding of the PUS and thus collaborate with valid and consistent indicators of PUS that can assist development of public policies. (AU)