SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS’ PERCEPTIONS AND ATTITUDES ABOUT SCIENTISTS

Muhammed Doğukan Balçın, Ayşegül Ergün

Abstract


This research was carried out to determine secondary school students’ perceptions and attitudes towards scientists. The study group consists of 53 fifth and sixth grade students receiving education in a state secondary school in Turkey. Convergent parallel design among mixed research methods was used during the research. Research data were collected using “Questionnaire on attitudes towards scientists” and “Draw A Scientist (DAS)” forms. Descriptive and inferential statistical methods and content analysis were used for analysis of the obtained data. Research findings indicate that, female students and sixth grade students exhibited higher attitude levels towards scientists as compared to male and fifth grade students, respectively. This difference between the attitude levels, however, was not found to be significant. Although female students drew male figures to depict scientists, they were more eager to become scientists as compared to male students. The results obtained from the drawings indicated that students generally perceive scientists as hardworking and smart male individuals wearing gown, glasses or protective glasses, tie or bowtie, mustache with a peculiar hairstyle or with no hair. Majority of students defined the activities of scientists as inventing, discovering, making space research or scientific projects. The results obtained from the inventory showed that, the majority of students depicted scientists as creative, problem-solving individuals that discover new information and design new stuff. Research results also showed that students have stereotyped opinions about scientists and they generally confuse the working fields of scientists with those of engineers.

 

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fifth and sixth grade students, science, scientist, perception, attitude, stereotyped perceptions

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