Communicating Science to Impact Learning? A Phenomenological Inquiry into 4th and 5th Graders' Perceptions of Science Information Sources

Burakgazi, Sevinc Gelmez
Yıldırım, Ali
Feinstein, Noah Weeth
Rooted in science education and science communication studies, this study examines 4th and 5th grade students' perceptions of science information sources (SIS) and their use in communicating science to students. It combines situated learning theory with uses and gratifications theory in a qualitative phenomenological analysis. Data were gathered through classroom observations and interviews in four Turkish elementary schools. Focus group interviews with 47 students and individual interviews with 17 teachers and 10 parents were conducted. Participants identified a wide range of SIS, including TV, magazines, newspapers, internet, peers, teachers, families, science centers/museums, science exhibitions, textbooks, science books, and science camps. Students reported using various SIS in school-based and non-school contexts to satisfy their cognitive, affective, personal, and social integrative needs. SIS were used for science courses, homework/project assignments, examination/test preparations, and individual science-related research. Students assessed SIS in terms of the perceived accessibility of the sources, the quality of the content, and the content presentation. In particular, some sources such as teachers, families, TV, science magazines, textbooks, and science centers/museums ("directive sources") predictably led students to other sources such as teachers, families, internet, and science books ("directed sources"). A small number of sources crossed context boundaries, being useful in both school and out. Results shed light on the connection between science education and science communication in terms of promoting science learning.


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Citation Formats
S. G. Burakgazi, A. Yıldırım, and N. W. Feinstein, “Communicating Science to Impact Learning? A Phenomenological Inquiry into 4th and 5th Graders’ Perceptions of Science Information Sources,” JOURNAL OF SCIENCE EDUCATION AND TECHNOLOGY, pp. 244–262, 2016, Accessed: 00, 2020. [Online]. Available: