ResearchPad - academic-practice-in-ecology-and-evolution https://www.researchpad.co Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[Gender underlies the formation of STEM research groups]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_15269 Gender differences are pervasive in STEM, yet we know relatively little about the factors structuring gender differences in research groups—the fundamental unit of scientific investigation. We show that gender of the applicant pool and the principal investigator interact to shape gender representation in research groups. Our study has important implications for the continuation of women in STEM fields and for the performance of science as a whole.

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<![CDATA[Communicating the consensus on climate change to college biology majors: The importance of preaching to the choir]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/Nfbe71c48-2b65-46bf-9406-c05839c97d7c

Abstract

College and university biology majors who are not climate change deniers may yet be unaware of the degree of scientific consensus on climate change and unprepared to communicate about climate science to others. This study reports on a population of climate change accepting biology majors at a large, private research university in the American northeast. Our students tended to greatly underestimate the degree of scientific consensus around climate change, to be only moderately worried about climate change, and to be unconfident in their ability to communicate about the state of the scientific consensus around climate change. After an introduction to the scholarly literature that substantiates and quantifies the scientific consensus on climate change in the context of a course on biological research literature, our students showed significant increases in their estimates of the consensus on climate change, and their estimates were more accurate. Additionally, they became more worried about climate change as well as more confident in their ability to communicate about the scientific consensus to others. These results are in line with the Gateway Belief Model, which positions perception of scientific agreement on climate change as an important driver of acceptance and motivation toward action.

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<![CDATA[Preaching to the choir or composing new verses? Toward a writerly climate literacy in introductory undergraduate biology]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N34950b98-db1b-4951-a8c6-f4f37aede151

Abstract

Climate change is one of the most pressing issues facing society today, yet a wide range of misconceptions exist in society about whether or why climate change is happening, what its consequences are, and what can be done to address it. Large introductory biology courses present an opportunity to teach a large number of students—some of whom may never take another course focused on climate, ecology, or the environment—about climate change. However, content knowledge alone may not be enough to prepare students to transform their knowledge into action. To begin understanding how content knowledge interacts with student constructions of climate change solutions, we administered and quantitatively analyzed a survey that examined student views of climate change and how they shifted with instruction during an undergraduate introductory biology course at a large Midwestern university. Almost all participants entered the course agreeing that climate change is occurring, and their certainty about the science of climate change increased after instruction. After taking the course, more participants described climate change as having more immediate impacts, reporting that climate change is already harming people and that climate change will harm them personally. However, both at the beginning and end of the course, participants tended to think that humans would either be unable or unwilling to reduce climate change. They were also more worried about climate change at the end of the course than they were before. Increased concern might result from students becoming more certain of the science and severity of climate change, while remaining pessimistic that humans will effectively act on climate change. This pattern suggests instructors have opportunities to modify curricula in ways that leave students with a greater sense of empowerment and efficacy; we suggest questions that instructors can ask themselves in order to modify their courses with this goal in mind.

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