Sturgis, Patrick and Allum, Nick
Science in society: re-evaluating the deficit model of public understanding
Public Understanding of Science, 13, (1), . (doi:10.1177/0963662504042690).
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The “deficit model” of public attitudes towards science has led to controversy over the role of scientific knowledge in explaining lay people’s attitudes towards science. In this paper we challenge the de facto orthodoxy that has connected the deficit model and contextualist perspectives with quantitative and qualitative research methods respectively. We simultaneously test hypotheses from both theoretical approaches using quantitative methodology. The results point to the clear importance of knowledge as a determinant of attitudes toward science. However, in contrast to the rather simplistic deficit model that has traditionally characterized discussions of this relationship, this analysis highlights the complex and interacting nature of the knowledge— attitude interface.
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