Determination and comparison of biological principles in the public press and in BSCS biology texts Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/kd17cw22s

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  • The purposes of this study were threefold: (1) to formulate a current list of biological principles to use as a checklist in this study; (2) to utilize the formulated checklist in identifying those principles required for reading comprehension of news articles concerning the various areas of biology or biology-related social problems; and, (3) to survey the new curricula "process-oriented" BSCS textbooks to determine whether the biological principles identified in the public press occurred and to what degree. The review of the literature concentrated on research in the two areas of concern in this study: (a) studies which sought to determine significant course content through an analysis of biological items appearing in newspapers and widely read magazines, and (b) those studies that were stimulated by the principles concept put forth by the NSSE Thirty-first Yearbook in 1932. A checklist consisting of 195 current biological principles from the areas of ecology, physiology, morphology, genetics, evolution and applied biology was prepared with the aid of past lists and a jury of practicing biologists. This checklist was used in the analysis of principles appearing in 1346 biology and biology-related articles from 671 issues of 15 publications for the year 1967. The publications were selected to represent all segments of society. Data concerning articles, principles, biology-related social problems, and biology topics were analyzed by means of frequencies and descriptive percentages and are summarized as follows: 1. All the publications surveyed were found to contain biology or biology-related articles. 2. One hundred ninety-one of the 195 biological principles in the checklist appeared in the articles surveyed. Twenty-two appeared 100 times or more, fifteen appeared 70-99 times, and fifteen 50-69 times. 3. The greatest frequency of 435 was noted for the principle, "Plant and animal diseases are caused by numerous physical and chemical factors and by various parasitic organisms." 4. Of the six areas of biology represented in the checklist, the 46 principles of ecology received the greatest emphasis in the news with 45.9 percent and morphology the least with 2.5 percent. 5. Eleven biology-related social problems were identified in 460 of the news articles. Ecology principles received 66.6 percent of the emphasis and physiology 22.7 percent. 6. News articles other than those concerning biology-related social problems were grouped under nine biology topics or classifications. Those receiving greatest emphasis were applied biology (predominantly health and disease) with 331 or 30.9 percent of the articles and animal life (predominantly mammals and birds) with 217 or 20.3 percent. 7. The BSCS texts were analyzed for the presence, location, and emphasis of the biological principles appearing most frequently in the public press. None of the principles were omitted in the three texts. The Yellow and Green versions gave the 100 most frequent principles in the news the most emphasis. The following conclusions were drawn from this study: (1) The public press does include many biology and biology-related articles which contain many of the basic principles of biology; and (2) There is a close relationship between biological principles found in articles of the public press and those stressed in the modern type introductory biology texts surveyed in this study.
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