Environmental Education: 'Who do school students trust?'

Smith, Sarah; Stanisstreet, Martin; Boyes, Edward
March 2005
Environmental Education;Spring2005, Vol. 78, p38
The article presents information on the findings of a study that show the trust of students. The present study examines the opinions of secondary school students about the trustworthiness of various sources of information on two issues which affect the environment, global warming and the genetic engineering of crops. Students' opinions were elicited using a closed-form questionnaire. The questionnaire was completed by 748 students in National Curriculum Years 7(11-12 years), 9 (13-14 years) and 11(15-16 years) from 5 community comprehensive schools in the north of England. The results show that about three quarters of the students overall trusted information provided by university scientists, although there was slightly less faith in government scientists. About two thirds felt that teachers and parents, television and protest organizations could be trusted. About half had confidence in the Internet as a source of information, and rather fewer trusted politicians, the radio or magazines. Only about a quarter of the students thought that friends and manufacturers were reliable.


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