Students' engagement with Socioscientific issues: Use of sources of knowledge and attitudes

Lida T. Klaver*, Juliette H. Walma van der Molen, Patrick H.M. Sins, Laurence J.F. Guérin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
60 Downloads (Pure)


The current study is about students' engagement with socioscientific issues (SSI). We explored the use of sources of knowledge about SSI and attitudes toward SSI among a sample of 1676 Dutch 8- to 16-year-old students. First, we developed a questionnaire that measured students' use of four sources of knowledge about SSI: Social Resources (online media use and talking with parents and friends), In-Class Resources (in-class talk and in-class offline media use), Visit Resources (visiting the zoo or a science museum with parents or school), and Offline Media Resources (engaging with issues or the news via books, magazines, newspapers, or TV). Second, we performed a latent profile analysis to explore students' patterns of use of these sources. This resulted in five profiles: Social Visitors (5.9%), Offline Media Consumers (10.6%), Media Discussers (14.3%), In-Class Users (21.0%), and Non-Users (48.3%). Third, we related these profiles to students' attitudes toward SSI, as measured with the Pupils' Attitudes toward Socioscientific Issues (PASSI) questionnaire. In line with the sources of knowledge profiles, the Non-Users felt and thought most negatively about engagement with SSI, while the Media Discussers showed the most positive attitudes. We believe that our exploration of the profiles adds to the discourse about students' socioscientific capital. Moreover, this study informs teachers about the resources that students may bring into the learning environment and their decision-making about SSI. The study concludes with practical suggestions about stimulating the use of sources of knowledge for certain groups of students and fostering positive attitudes toward engagement with SSI.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1125-1161
Number of pages37
JournalJournal of research in science teaching
Issue number5
Early online date26 Oct 2022
Publication statusPublished - May 2023


  • Attitudes
  • Engagement
  • Socioscientific capital
  • Socioscientific issues
  • Sources of knowledge
  • 2023 OA procedure


Dive into the research topics of 'Students' engagement with Socioscientific issues: Use of sources of knowledge and attitudes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this