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‘I already know about it, I’ve been watching the Daily News and updates’: Teenagers’ questions about the scientific and social aspects of COVID-19

‘I already know about it, I’ve been watching the Daily News and updates’: Teenagers’ questions about the scientific and social aspects of COVID-19
‘I already know about it, I’ve been watching the Daily News and updates’: Teenagers’ questions about the scientific and social aspects of COVID-19

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a surfeit of information and misinformation in the media about it. The lockdown in England meant that schools were closed from March to June, meaning that students had limited access, in school, to ask questions and discuss the biology of the novel virus (SARS-CoV-2) or the impact of the pandemic on themselves, their families and friends. In this small-scale exploratory study, we decided to ask students (15–16-year-olds) on their return to school in June 2020 and in September 2020, what they wanted to know about COVID-19. Findings show that their questions were similar at both time points, indicating that students wanted to know the same things. This suggests that despite the high volume of information available in the media, some of the students’ questions had not been answered or that sources of information were confused and at times contradictory. Interestingly, the questions they asked were based on reliable sources of news rather than fake news, and this finding seems to contradict the literature that indicates young people are prone to believing misinformation. The implications for teaching and learning about COVID-19, and other zoonotic diseases as socio-scientific issues are discussed.

COVID-19, anxiety, misinformation, pandemic, science/ health literacy, socio-scientific issues
0021-9266
Byrne, Jenny
f3e0fddf-b80a-4e3f-bcd5-4f3616feebf0
Marston, Alison, Margaret
472def9c-d92a-48d0-813c-1738da0473d5
Grace, Marcus
bb019e62-4134-4f74-9e2c-d235a6f89b97
Byrne, Jenny
f3e0fddf-b80a-4e3f-bcd5-4f3616feebf0
Marston, Alison, Margaret
472def9c-d92a-48d0-813c-1738da0473d5
Grace, Marcus
bb019e62-4134-4f74-9e2c-d235a6f89b97

Byrne, Jenny, Marston, Alison, Margaret and Grace, Marcus (2022) ‘I already know about it, I’ve been watching the Daily News and updates’: Teenagers’ questions about the scientific and social aspects of COVID-19. Journal of Biological Education. (doi:10.1080/00219266.2021.2020874).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a surfeit of information and misinformation in the media about it. The lockdown in England meant that schools were closed from March to June, meaning that students had limited access, in school, to ask questions and discuss the biology of the novel virus (SARS-CoV-2) or the impact of the pandemic on themselves, their families and friends. In this small-scale exploratory study, we decided to ask students (15–16-year-olds) on their return to school in June 2020 and in September 2020, what they wanted to know about COVID-19. Findings show that their questions were similar at both time points, indicating that students wanted to know the same things. This suggests that despite the high volume of information available in the media, some of the students’ questions had not been answered or that sources of information were confused and at times contradictory. Interestingly, the questions they asked were based on reliable sources of news rather than fake news, and this finding seems to contradict the literature that indicates young people are prone to believing misinformation. The implications for teaching and learning about COVID-19, and other zoonotic diseases as socio-scientific issues are discussed.

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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 4 January 2022
e-pub ahead of print date: 4 January 2022
Published date: 4 January 2022
Additional Information: Publisher Copyright: © 2022 Royal Society of Biology. Copyright: Copyright 2021 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.
Keywords: COVID-19, anxiety, misinformation, pandemic, science/ health literacy, socio-scientific issues

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 454136
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/454136
ISSN: 0021-9266
PURE UUID: 0040a760-eab8-4db7-b62f-58848af858a6
ORCID for Marcus Grace: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-1949-1765

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 01 Feb 2022 17:38
Last modified: 28 Apr 2022 01:36

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Contributors

Author: Jenny Byrne
Author: Marcus Grace ORCID iD

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