Eighth-grade students’ perceptions of biotechnology: A case study

The aim of this qualitative study, which was based on a case study conducted in a primary school in Turkey, was to examine eighth-grade students’ perceptions of biotechnological issues in terms of social, ethic and economic aspects. The study sample consisted of 18 eighth grade students. The data were collected with videotapes and an open-ended questionnaire. A content analysis was conducted on the transcripts of videotapes through a model of analytical induction, which sought to extract the implicit conceptions about several aspects under study. As a result of the analysis of data from the open-ended questionnaire and videotapes, it was found that the students did not truly understand what biotechnology is and they had uncertain views about the social, ethic and economic effects of biotechnology on their daily lives. The advantages of genetic engineering of both plants and animals which were most commonly affirmed by the students were improved storage properties and improved growth although fewer students thought that these qualities were true of plant products. Most of the students were strongly supportive of medical applications of biotechnology to avoid genetic diseases.

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