“I have a gut feeling about this”: Adult Engagement with SSI in Daily Life

March 23rd, 2020 | RESEARCH

This exploratory study aims to better understand how adults engage with science in the context of reallife socio-scientific issues (SSIs). Specifically, we examined how parents engage with the issue of radiation from Wi-Fi routers in schools, an issue encountered by parents across the world. Radiation from wireless internet connection (Wi-Fi) routers is a type of radio frequency electromagnetic radiation. Nowadays, exposure to RF radiation is widespread; from Wi-Fi routers in workplaces, homes, restaurants, and even buses and trains to cell phones and microwave ovens. The proliferation of devices emitting RF radiation has entailed some public concern and media publications that we are underestimating the health risks associated with RF radiation and ignoring some studies that have demonstrated risk, even if the scientific consensus is different. This study takes a qualitative approach using semi-structured interviews with 35 parents of primary school aged children. Our findings illustrate nonscientists engagement with a relevant SSI where personal perceptions, and social networks play a much bigger role than scientific knowledge. Even though most interviewees talked about using the internet and google for learning more about SSIs, they attested that in the end they mainly rely on their personal perception of the issues under discussion.



Team Members

Keren Dalyot, Author, Technion Israel Institute of Technology
Ayelet Baram-Tsabari, Author, Technion Israel Institute of Technology


Publication: NARST 2020


Audience: Adults | Learning Researchers | Parents | Caregivers
Discipline: Health and medicine | Technology
Resource Type: Conference Proceedings | Reference Materials
Environment Type: Informal | Formal Connections | K-12 Programs