What do people think of science?

Public attittudes to science

Asimina Vergou, asimina.vergou@bgci.org | 29/12/11 | London

Many people form their attitudes to science (either positively or negatively) at school according to a recent UK study, with a quarter (24%) agreeing that “school put me off science”. According to the same survey, people tend to be divided over whether the science they learned at school has been useful in their everyday lives or in their jobs and they also have a mixed view of the quality of science teaching, relative to other subjects. Most see careers in science as desirable, with seven in ten (68%) agreeing that “jobs in science are very interesting”. However, there is less enthusiasm for working in science among 16-24 year olds (60% agree).

These are some of the results published in the Public Attitudes to Science (PAS) 2011 report looking at the UK public’s attitudes to science, scientists and science policy which was commissioned by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS). The report presents the results of a mixed methodology study which aimed to get to the heart of how people feel about science, how they engage with it, the trust they place in it, and the role which it plays in their lives and careers.

Although the research findings have illustrated that the British public has become more interested in science and more capable to understand scientific issues since 2000, it is also evident that school science education has an important role to play in terms of engaging young people in science, showcasing how science is carried out and inspiring young people to follow science careers. Within this context it also becomes evident the potential and significance of reinvigorating IBSE methods in the UK school classrooms.

Read the whole report on Public Attitudes to Science 2011

and the Public Attitudes to Science literature review.

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