Date of Award




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Education Theory and Practice

Content Description

1 online resource (viii, 147 pages) : color illustrations

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Alandeon Oliveira

Committee Members

Kristen Wilcox, Julie Learned


cognitive flexibility theory, mixed-methods, nature of science, Science in mass media, Mass media, College students, Science

Subject Categories



This study explored undergraduate students’ conceptual use of the nature of science (NOS) when evaluating scientific information presented in the media. Cognitive flexibility theory was used to explain how NOS understanding can be transferred to new learning situations such as those presented in the media. A mixed methods approach was used to assess participants’ NOS conception. Pre and post NOS conceptions were measured using the Student Understanding of Science and Scientific Inquiry (SUSSI) questionnaire. The questionnaire was used to explore the level of NOS conception (naïve, transitional, informed) college-level non-science majors have about NOS and what impact, if any, does explicit NOS-prompted writing have on participants’ conceptualization of NOS. In this study, journal writing was used as a knowledge-transforming space for the learner and as a methodological tool for the researcher to uncover how individuals use their conceptualization of NOS while attending to scientific information presented in the media. A case study approach was used to characterize how participants who engaged in NOS-prompted writing activities and who received explicit NOS instruction applied NOS conceptions in the evaluation of scientific information in the media.

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Education Commons