Refutation texts for effective climate change education

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Journal of Geoscience Education





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Refutation texts, which are texts that rebut scientific misconceptions and explain the normative concept, can be effective devices for addressing misconceptions and affecting conceptual change. However, few, if any, refutation texts specifically related to climate change have been validated for effectiveness. In this project, we developed and tested three refutation texts related to climate change. The three texts, which are freely available for other educators and researchers to use, relate to (1) the enhanced greenhouse effect, (2) the distinction between climate and weather, and (3) the nature of ozone depletion and how it is not a major contributor to global warming. Participants in the study consisted of 146 undergraduates enrolled in various educational psychology courses. They were randomly divided into experimental and control groups. All participants completed a knowledge pretest, posttest, and delayed (2 wk) posttest. Experimental-group participants read one of the refutation texts, whereas control subjects read an unrelated text. Based on repeated-measures ANOVAs, results indicated that the refutation texts were generally effective in increasing knowledge and addressing the misconceptions that they were designed to address, although results were mixed for the weather versus climate text. Furthermore, there was little regression at the delayed posttest, except for the weather versus climate text (understanding that climate is usually measured over a 30-y period) and for global warming being unrelated to skin cancer. The importance of combining these texts with other instructional activities and simulations is discussed. © 2017 National Association of Geoscience Teachers.



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