Associations with plant genetic engineering: A perception analysis of students’ hopes and fears

Public perceptions of plant genetic engineering are of increasing research interest. Although within the current debate on the cultivation of genetically modified plants, many related ethical, political and economic issues need specific consideration, young students’ views on this socio-scientific issue are largely unexplored. Therefore, our current analysis focussed on perceptions of Bavarian 10th graders (N=572) with regard to their hopes and fears in the context of plant genetic engineering. By applying a mixed-methods approach, students rated their individual hopes and fears on a 4-point Likert-scale (quantitative part) and gave a written statement about their individual associations (qualitative part): Hereby, hopes scored much higher than fears (medium effect). The subsequent categorisation of qualitative data resulted in five categories for hopes and four categories for fears. Hopes were mainly associated with economic or ecological aspects as well as with the overall fight against world hunger. Fears dealt mainly with negative consequences on human health and the fate of the environment. Additionally, subjective and objective knowledge were analysed for their influence on students’ perceptions. Subjective knowledge had a significant influence on hopes, objective knowledge did not. This background information is relevant for the age-appropriate preparation of biology lessons: Hopes and fears need to be specifically addressed in order to optimise educational efforts and to support students to become responsible citizens.


Issue Date:
2013-12
Publication Type:
Journal Article
DOI and Other Identifiers:
1418 2106 (Other)
2063 0476 (Other)
PURL Identifier:
http://purl.umn.edu/161082
Published in:
Studies in Agricultural Economics, Volume 115, Number 3
Page range:
143-149
Total Pages:
7
Note:
http://dx.doi.org/10.7896/j.1314




 Record created 2017-04-01, last modified 2017-08-27

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