Scientifically literate action: Key barriers and facilitators across context and content

Amanda Crowell, Christian Schunn

Scientific literacy can also be described as a level of public understanding of science that encourages one to act in concert with scientific consensus. Investigating actions concerned with environmental conservation, we examine the context specificity of this form of scientifically literate action and the differential motivations that predict such action across contexts. We report on a large sample of employees of a mixed urban/rural county in the USA, representing a diverse range of careers, who completed an anonymous survey about their environmental conservation actions at home, at work and in the public sphere. Results indicate that individuals engage at different action levels overall and for different reasons across contexts; limited support was found for the importance of perceived knowledge attainment ability in predicting scientifically informed actions. Implications for policy and program designers and scholars interested in scientific literacy are discussed.

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