The influence of the mass media on Australian primary students' understandings of genes and DNA

PhD Thesis


Donovan, Jennifer. 2014. The influence of the mass media on Australian primary students' understandings of genes and DNA. PhD Thesis Doctor of Philosophy. University of Western Australia.
Title

The influence of the mass media on Australian primary students' understandings of genes and DNA

TypePhD Thesis
Authors
AuthorDonovan, Jennifer
SupervisorWinthrop Professor Grady Venville
Institution of OriginUniversity of Western Australia
Qualification NameDoctor of Philosophy
Number of Pages330
Year2014
Abstract

The research purpose was to investigate the influence of the mass media on 10-12 year olds' understandings of genes and DNA. Data were collected by media usage questionnaires (N=141) and genetics understandings interviews (n=62). Genetics content of the media was critically reviewed. Participants used media 5 hr/day, mostly television including crime shows. Children's understandings paralleled their media exposure, knowing more about DNA's use for crime-solving than DNA biology. More students knew of DNA than genes; and half believed DNA is only in forensic body parts. Primary schools could capitalize on students' interest to introduce fundamental genetics before misconceptions become entrenched.

Keywordsmass media; primary students; genes; DNA; crime show effect
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020360505. Screen media
390113. Science, technology and engineering curriculum and pedagogy
390304. Primary education
Byline AffiliationsUniversity of Western Australia
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