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evaluating correctness of environmental conceptions

June 21, 2007

Yesterday when talking with my student Lenel Zimdin about categorizing her qualitative data about environmental awareness issues she came up with an interesting observation. We have conducted the questionnaire where we ask about global warming, greenhouse effect, ozone layer depletion, acid rains and air pollution questions: what it is, who causes it, what are the causes, and what strategies to use to solve the issues etc.. Next these questions are categorised according to the correctness and context. The whole idea is to investigate the relationships of conceptual and contextual dimensions.

Lenel mentioned her problems of categorizing the correctness of attitude type of questions (eg. i think global warming does not influence me very much..). Then we were discussing that actually the correctness can be measured only by using some etalon – like scientific knowledge. And in case of the questions when people can have various opinions (which is the case in all dilemmas), correctness becomes subjective and impossible to assess. We discussed that teachers do not think of this relative correctness idea at all, when grading at school environmental awareness.

This correctness categorization issue did not appear in the study of my other student Eneken Metsalu. Her questionnaire was similar, but the categorization considered global-local aspects as the contexts. Lenel, however, considers values, technology, legislative, economic, ecological-scientific and evaluative comparisons etc. as her contextual dimensions.

Here is a figure of some periminary analysis about awareness questions contexts and correctness (means).
greenhouse effect

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