Open Collections

UBC Theses and Dissertations

UBC Theses Logo

UBC Theses and Dissertations

Features of students’ responses to a socioscientific issue presented in print and on video Ojelel, Alfred Charles 1992

Your browser doesn't seem to have a PDF viewer, please download the PDF to view this item.

Item Metadata


831-ubc_1992_fall_ojelel_alfred.pdf [ 2.76MB ]
JSON: 831-1.0099032.json
JSON-LD: 831-1.0099032-ld.json
RDF/XML (Pretty): 831-1.0099032-rdf.xml
RDF/JSON: 831-1.0099032-rdf.json
Turtle: 831-1.0099032-turtle.txt
N-Triples: 831-1.0099032-rdf-ntriples.txt
Original Record: 831-1.0099032-source.json
Full Text

Full Text

FEATURES OF STUDENTS’ RESPONSES TO A SOCIOSCIENTIFIC ISSUEPRESENTED IN PRINT AND ON VIDEObyALFRED CHARLES OJELELB.Sc./Ed., Makerere University Kampala, 1986A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OFTHE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OFMASTER OF ARTSinTHE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES(Department of Mathematics and Science Education)We accept this thesis as conformingto the required standardTHE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIAMay 1992©Alfred Charles Ojelel, 1992In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanceddegree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make itfreely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensivecopying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of mydepartment or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying orpublication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my writtenpermission.(Signature)_____________________________Department of 1’4ATMATtCS AND Sciic .DLtCATIoJ4The University of British ColumbiaVancouver, CanadaDate M’j 1,DE-6 (2/88)ABSTRACTIn recent years there has been increasing interest among scienceeducators on the need to discuss science-related social issues in scienceclassrooms. This study explores the features of students’ responses to onescience-related social issue (referred to as a socioscientific issue) presented inprint and video formats.In the study, Grade 10 students either read a newspaper-type article orwatched a video on the issue of the use of animals in scientific andbiomedical research. Through semi-structured interviews, students wereasked to abstract and frame the central issues in the story and to specificallyidentify the different points of view discussed in the story. Students were alsoasked to give their own points of view on the issues. And afterwards, asecond, related story that attempted to make the issues more personallyrelevant was read to students. The features of students’ responses to thissocioscientific issue across these areas were explored. Contemporaryinformation processing theories on the comprehension and response totelevision and print material formed a theoretical perspective for analyzingthe data.The findings of this study reveal interesting features of students’responses by the presentation format of the story and by the gender of therespondents. Responses from students who watched the video story, whencompared to those from students who read the print story tended to be rathersuperficial, more empathic to animals, and were sometimes framed more orless to describe a chronological sequence of events rather than anidentification of the issues.11More important, it was found that the influence of the presentationformat of the story is pronounced in students’ ability to abstract the centralissues in the story. The presentation format seemed to have little influenceon the points of view students expressed and on the consistency of students’views in a personally-oriented situation.As for the variation of these features by gender, females more thanmales tended to abstract the central issues in the story and to identify thedifferent points of view presented on the issue. They also tended to giveviews that were geared toward caring and protecting animals, whereas malescorrespondingly seemed to give views that were utilitarian. When presentedwith a second, related story that attempted to make the issue more personallyrelevant, females, more than males, seemed to give views on this secondstory that were fairly consistent with the ways they expressed their points ofview about this issue both at a personal and societal context, and continued tosupport views that were consistent with the caring and the protection ofanimals. Males mainly appear to support views that are utilitarian.Implications for curriculum and practise are discussed.iiiTABLE OF CONTENTSAbstract iiTable of Contents ivAcknowledgements viiiCHAPTER IThe ProblemIntroduction 1Need for the Study 3Purpose of the Study 5Research Questions 6Theoretical Framework 6Significance of the study 11Definitions 12Socioscientific issue 12Point of View 12Delimitation of the Study 12CHAPTER IIReview of LiteratureOverview 14The Medium is the Message 14Processing of Media Information 16Media Comprehension Models 18Top-down and Bottom-up Theories 20Factors Influencing Comprehension 23ivCHAPTER IIIMethodology and AnalysisOverview 26Methodology of the Study 26Pilot Study 30Selection of Subjects 30Interview Procedure 31Data Analysis 32(a) Framing of Students’ Initial Responses 33Reiteration of Topic 33One Position with a Justification 34Two Positions with Justifications 35(b) Identification of the Different Points of View in the Story 36Students’ own Reaction 37The Different Points of View 37(i) Positions with No Justifications 38(ii) Positions with One Justification 38(iii) Positions with Two Justifications 39(c) Students’ Points of View on the Issue 39The Array of Student Views 40(d) Consistency of Students’ Points of View 41Procedure for the Analysis of the Features 42Limitation of the Methodology 43VCHAPTER IVDiscussion of Resu1t (I)Introduction 441. The Framing of Students’ Responses 44Level of Empathy 47Details in Students’ Responses 48Length of Responses 49Issues versus Chronologies 502. Identifying Points of View in the Story 52Focus on General Differences 52Disposition to Support One Side 53Identifying Concrete Information 55Emphasis on Images and Propositions 56Summary of the Chapter 58CHAPTER VDiscussion of Results (II)1. Students’ Points of View 60Acknowledgement of the Conifict 61Expressiveness of the Points of View 65Students’ Experiences 67Personal Experiences 68Sodal Experiences 702. Consistency of Students’ Points of View 74Evaluating the Options Presented 74Checking with the Earlier Point of View 78Consistent Points of View 81viModifications of Students’ Earlier Views 83Summary of the Results: 87CHAPTER VIConclusions and ImplicationsIntroduction 89Conclusions 891. The Ways Students Framed their Responses 892. The Different Points of View in the story 943. Students’ own Points of View 974. The Consistency of Students’ Points of View 99Implications 101Suggestions for Further Research 1O3BIBLIOGRAPHY 106APPENDICES 111Appendix A: Soundtrack of the Video on the Use of Animals 112Appendix B: The Print Story 115Appendix C: The Interview Protocol 116Appendix D: Sample Interview Transcripts 118From the Print Story 118A student’s response to the Video story 124viiACKNOWLEDGEMENTSI am indebted to the team that conducted the SocioscientificComponent of the 1991 British Columbia Science Assessment. I extend mygratitude to all the team members, HOTS, and particularly to Dr. P.J. Gaskellfor his academic direction and tremendous support throughout all the phasesof this thesis. I am equally grateful to Dr. R. Goidman-Segall and Dr. C.Ungerleider for their very helpful comments.In addition, I am obliged to gratefully acknowledge the permissiongranted by the Ministry of Education, Assessment, Examinations andReporting Branch to utilize its data in this study. Thanks are also due to TheCanadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) and to Tony Glencoff, in particular,for allowing the use of the video about the use of animals in scientific andbiomedical research for educational purposes. I would also like to thank allthe participants in the video: Peter Hamilton, Dr. John McNeil and Dr. BobHorsfall for granting permission to use this video. -Finally, I extend my thanks to Renée Fountain and to all other personswho have been of steadfast support in the course of this study.viiiCHAPTER IThe ProblemIntroductionThe last decade has witnessed the broadening of science education goalsto include educating students to formulate informed opinions about science-related social issues. The aim of science education for the informed citizen isbeing underscored as among the most important in this technological age(Science Council of Canada, 1984), and international momentum towards ascience education that incorporates such a science, technology, and societyemphasis is growing. In addition to traditional objectives, this emphasisrequires students to gain an understanding of the method and limitations ofdoing science, and an appreciation of its practical and social implications.In school and out of school, print and television media are among theimportant sources by which students receive information on science-relatedsocial issues. Although print has continued to be the dominant medium inschool, television is the most frequent out of school information source.According to Postman (1983), between ages 6 and 18 children spend anaverage of 16,000 hours in front of television compared to the 13,000 hoursspent in school. The overwhelming student use of television outside schoolthreatens to undermine the place of the print medium in a traditionallyprint-oriented society (Olson, 1982). Because the viewing public consists ofstudents, and since this social group is much broader than the reading public,it has an important influence upon many political, commercial, social andsocioscientific issues.1The pressing problem is not whether the situation is good or bad, butrather how to utilize the increasingly div’erse sources of information onsocioscientific issues to enhance critical thought when responding to theseissues. Given that there is an upsurge in the use of television for presentinginformation in formal and informal settings, there is increasingly a need forthe young to think critically not only about what they read and what theyhear, but also about what they see. Indeed, to be able to sort things out, todistinguish between rhetoric and evidence, to recognize when the facts arenot enough, it is particularly important that students be efficacious withviewing television and reading print material.Socioscientific issues periodically receive a lot of media attention.Wessel (1980) has observed that a socioscientific dispute essentially has threedimensions. First, the term socio connotes a high public interest in theoutcome of conflicts involving the impact of science and technology on howwe live. Such interest, he notes, is a relatively new phenomenon. Morepeople now understand that they may be directly or personally affected.Because of the heightened public awareness of these kinds of disputes, there isa growing dissatisfaction with the ways in which such disputes are beinghandled. Subsequently, more and more persons are seriously concerned withthe outcomes of disputes over socioscientific issues.Second, the information and understanding required to formulate arational judgement of the issues are complex. Information on the disputes isdisseminated from a variety of sources and is often inconclusive. Attaching ameaningful interpretation to such information depends, in part, on ourability to extract the relevant information and frame for ourselves the issuesunder discussion. If one is to formulate a reasoned judgement which takes2into account the possible relevant constraints, this process demands that theaudience be critical and reflective.And finally, a sound final judgement on a socioscientific issue requiresthe fine tuning and balancing of a number of quality-of-life concerns aboutwhich different people have widely varying values and feelings. Wessel(1980) further notes that because these are disputes involving conflict betweenvalues and goals within persons and among persons, the resolution of theseconflicts requires communication. Students have to engage in the dispute-resolution process which may involve seeking compromise and activelynegotiating one’s position. This process would also require us to reflect onthe ways in which the images that bear upon us shape our views of the worldand influence our values.Need for the StudyVideos are now an essential component of school science instruction,of some teacher professional development courses, and of courses designed totrigger students’ discussions of controversial issues appearing in the media.For example, Science and Technology 11, a recent high school course inBritish Columbia designed to discuss science-related social issues, is heavilydependent upon video scenarios to sensitize students about socioscientificissues. The emergence of such courses in the last decade was prompted by theincreasing need to develop curricula that promote education for informedcitizenry. These curricula are concerned with developing in students anawareness of the role science and technology play in creating and solvingsocial problems, and with developing a sense of responsibility to influencethe resolution of these problems. Given the nature of the issues, a scienceand social issues curriculum must involve teachers and students in areas of3political and ethical controversy, areas that science teachers have traditionallyavoided (Gaskell, 1982). The video materials used in thee courses, therefore,usually discuss material that presents subtly different views of the samesituation, and which gives students an opportunity to formulate and defendtheir own judgements on matters that are indeterminate in character.Interestingly, there is not much research available that examines theuse of videos as presentation formats for socioscientific issues, although theinfluence of different media on children’s interpretations of stories presentedin print and on video continues to intrigue researchers (Neuman 1992,Meringoff 1980). Neuman (1992), for example, examined whether differentmedia presentations elicit different inferencing strategies when children reador viewed episodes from two stories. And in her ongoing work on thediscussion of social issues in school science, Solomon (1990) has used videoexcerpts to trigger discussions of social issues in science classrooms. From thevideotapes they are shown, students use their interpretations of the situationportrayed in the video to engage in small-group discussions.With the growing use of television as a technology of formalinstruction, there is need to explicate some of the features of individualstudent& responses after exposure to similar print and video content and toexplore how this exposure influences students’ arguments in discussions ofsocioscientific issues commonly appearing in the media.An opportunity for carrying out an investigation on these issues arosein the context of the British Columbia Provincial Science Assessment(Bateson, Erickson, Gaskell, & Wideen, in press) and particularly on thesocioscientific issues component discussed in Chapter 3 (Gaskell, Fleming,Fountain, & Ojelel, in press).4Purpose of the StudyIn order to further our understanding of the television and printmedia, this study aims to characterize the reading and viewing capabilities ofGrade 10 students by exploring and documenting the features of thesestudents’ responses as they discuss a socioscientific issue. The study exploresstudents’ ability to frame the issues in the print and video scenario, toidentify the points of view in the story, and to give their own points of viewon the issues discussed in the story. Students are also given an opportunity todefend and possibly modify their points of view in a second, related story thatis more personally relevant to them. The role of the researcher in this studyis to establish the context and conditions which allow for individual studentreflection on the information presented in the story and to elicit studentunderstandings of this information as they discuss the issue.The main purpose of this study is to compare Grade 10 students’responses to one socioscientific issue presented in different media formatsand to describe the features of students’ framing of the essential issues in thecontroversy and of their identification of the different points of viewexpressed about it.Because it is important in this study that students be able to talk abouttheir understandings of the information presented in print and on videoformats, it was felt that students would comfortably discuss their experiencesand beliefs when the topic for discussion is familiar. The issue chosen forstudent discussion in this study, therefore, is the ongoing debate about the useof animals in scientific and biomedical research. Most students are familiarwith the treatment of animals in everyday life; many have had experiencewith animals in the wild or zoos, and some of them even own pets. Inaddition, the growing concern about the way animals are treated has led to5considerable coverage in the media of the arguments about using animals inresearch. It is likely that students have encountered the dispute over thetesting of certain scientific products, such as cosmetics, on animals.Furthermore, the use of animals in scientific research is anintroductory curriculum unit in the Science and Technology 11 course; thediscussion of this issue in the research context may subsequently be ofsignificance to the discussions of these kinds of issues in the classroom.Research QuestionsThe following questions will guide the study:1. What are some of the features in the ways students frame theirresponses to “What is the story about” when presented with a video orprint version of the story?2. How do students identify the different points of view discussed in astory presented in print compared to that presented in the videoformat?3. What, if any, are the different ways students give their own points ofview after watching the video, or reading the print story?4. What modifications, if any, are there to these points of view on theissue when students are presented with a second, related story that ismore personally relevant to them?Theoretical FrameworkIn the last decade, research on the understanding of media has focusedalmost exclusively on the production of newscasts, television news content,and the cognitive aspects of television news audience (attention,comprehension, learning, and memory) (Collins, 1982). A number of studies6have critically examined media variables from such standpoints as newsstructufe, the processing of news information, and media effectiveness inconveying news information (Weaver 1982, Stauffer, Frost & Rybolt 1981,Findahi & Höijer 1985). Very little research exists that concerns students’processing and response to news items, or to different kinds of expositorydiscourse. A specific search of literature on students’ understanding of andresponses to science-related content commonly appearing in the media doesnot produce an overwhelming volume of information. Except for the fewstudies that have sought to explain differences in children’s comprehensionof other stories in the print, audio and video formats (Greenfield & BeaglesRoos 1988, Hoffner, Cantor & Thorson 1988, Beagles-Roos & Gat 1983), noliterature has been found that directly describes the features of students’responses to socioscientific issues presented in two or more media formats,say, video, audio and print.Research that has focused on comprehension of televised news hasshown a remarkable lack of consistency in results. Some studies indicate littleor no comprehension of televised news, others show considerable newscomprehension affected by a number of factors (Woodall, Davis & Sahin,1983). Arguments have been made to the effect that television viewing is apassive instead of an active process, and that the information gained from itlends itself to ‘shallow’ rather than ‘deep’ cognitive processing. Thesearguments lend support to the claim first, that television viewing encouragesimmediate gratification over deeper learning, and second, that the everchanging, flashy nature of images on a television screen foster shallowunderstandings and produce short attention spans.Considering that in most television programs the pace is rapid and themovement is continuous, there is always new information that demands7assimilation; the viewer is confronted, if not bombarded, with rapidlychanging scenes that must be processed instantaneously. The viewer isallowed little or no time to process the information and reflect on theinformation gained. Several authors have addressed this issue. Salomon(1981) and Singer (1980) have cited the lack of viewer control over the pace ofpresentation as a major contributor to “shallow” comprehension. It is arguedthat while readers maintain control over the pace and repetition of printedmatter, television viewers have no similar opportunity to replay, pause orreflect on the content. The presentation simply proceeds whether or not thepreceding content has been processed clearly.Singer (1980) specifically points out that as the information presentedon television needs to be processed through internal rehearsal and as its paceof presentation is often very fast, children in particular, are not able to processmuch of this information. Among other factors affecting children’s cognitiveprocessing of television content, therefore, there appear to be age-relatedchanges in children’s abilities to understand and retain televisioninformation. Younger children engage in somewhat less literate viewingthan older ones, but as they grow older understanding improves dramatically(Collins, 1982). This would be expected from what is known about thedevelopment of information processing capabilities (Woodall, Davis & Sahin,1983).A variety of commentators suggest an interactive model to characterizethe changes in children’s television processing activities as they grow older—as children grow older their store of knowledge about the world increases, asdoes their knowledge of the media codes on television such as the use of suchformal features as cuts, zooms, pans and the use of such generic codes aslanguage and signs. What occurs is a communication interchange, what8Salomon (1981) calls reciprocal interaction. The more general knowledge thechild has, the greater is their ability to understand the messages of televisionand, in turn, knowledge of specific media codes allows the child tounderstand more of the social world on television which may feedback andincrease children’s general knowledge about the world as well as theirknowledge about the symbol system of television. Thus, processing fromtelevision is not a linear relationship, rather, it is interactive over the courseof development with children using their knowledge to make sense oftelevision and in turn, with television expanding children’s processingabilities.Viewers do differ in the “depth” of mental elaboration of the presentedinformation as well. From our daily experience, one can read a text, read amap, or watch television, with an intention of constructing elaborate or‘shallow’ meanings from it. The depth of information processed depends onthe amount of mental effort (or mindfulness) one invests in the process, andthe amount of mental effort, in turn, seems to depend on a number of factorssuch as the way information is structured, the difficulty of the task relative toone’s skill mastery, and the perceptions one has of the task and of one’s ownabilities (Cohen & Salomon, 1979; Salomon, 1984). Salomon (1984) hasargued that people process information with less mental effort when theyperceive it, on the basis of a few structural elements, to be related to an area inwhich they feel comfortable and confident.By their nature, socioscientific disputes are complex; they requireunderstanding of the presented arguments, identifying the underlying valuesin conflict and a careful consideration of trade-offs in order to meaningfullyrespond to the issue. Making sense of information that is being presented onvideotape, and organizing the material—both visually and in terms of a9verbal-labeling system—requires time. We have to replay what we haveseen, think about it, and go through the sequential verbal process as well asthe processing of the images themselves (Singer, 1980). With television’srapid exposition, however, it necessitates either a failure of storage of currentmaterial being presented, or a “tuning out” one of the sensory modes throughwhich the television message must be processed.Given that the likelihood of recalling items of a story varies with theperspective a reader brings to the material, it is reasonable to suppose thatstory elements that do not match the “slots” readied in the reader’s mind aremore shallowly processed and are, thus, less well retained. In the case oftelevision, it could be that the amount of information elaboration isinfluenced by how a person wants to perceive (or is told to perceive) theinformation. At the image formation level, reading seems to call for moreextensive imagery and reflective action whereas television merely stimulatesspecific image content, since it provides an external image that one canpassively use rather than create one’s own. This proposition is supported bywork reported by Greenfield (1984) on the effects of television, video games,and computers on the mind.It also appears that pacing of a medium affects the way in whichinformation is processed. With the rapid stream of changing images thatflow from television, the continuous reflective process, particularly ofcontingent material, becomes more difficult for television viewers. Thus, theextended reflection, retention of information, and critical evaluation ofinformation, otherwise possible with the print medium, is reduced amongsttelevision viewers. -Recent analyses of the modes of information presentation, or symbolsystems, suggest that different modes require different amounts of mental10elaboration to derive meaning (Salomon, 1979a). In addition, theinformation processing theories (Luke, 1987; Woodall, Davis & Sahin, 1983)recognize that individual viewers, and readers alike, bring to theviewing/reading situation varied skills and biasing dispositions that mayresult in different interpretations of the same television or print contentwhich are of consequence to the impact of the presented information.Significance of the StudyThis study would inform teachers of the influence that the variousmodes of presenting socioscientific issues in the classroom may have on theideas and arguments which students are likely to construct about the issues.In the curriculum development process where various modes ofpresenting information are proposed and encouraged, this study will helpeducators understand reasonable expectations of Grade 10 students’ abilitiesin the discussion of science-related social issues presented in the print andvideo formats. It will also help educators better understand the implicationsfor classroom practise in using print and video scenarios in the discussions ofsocioscientific issues. Although the features of students’ discussions of thesekinds of issues at a group level are yet to be explored, the findings of thisstudy will form a useful starting point for understanding students’arguments, and for developing insights into the design of new materials andof the choice and subsequent use of the available materials in the classroomcontext.11DefinitionsSocioscientific IssueFor purposes of this study, a socioscientific issue will refer to a topic ofpublic interest involving science and technology and about which there areconflicting points of view requiring the balancing of competing quality-of-lifeconcerns.Point of ViewAs referred to in this study, a point of view on a socioscientific issueexpresses a position on the issue discussed and offers a correspondingjustification in the form of a reason or value principle to support theposition.Delimitation of the StudyThe debate about the use of animals in scientific and biomedicalresearch is one illustration of the great public interest in the impact of scienceand technology on society for which there is yet no consensual solution. Astory on this issue was developed from snippets of television news, and anequivalent newspaper-type print story was written based on the informationin the video story. The presentation formats of these stories, therefore,correspond to the ways television and the print media commonly presentinformation. The unique presentation formats of this issue, together withthe exploratory nature of the interviews, dictate the boundaries of this study.Knowledge claims will be made within these boundary conditions and will bebased on the researcher’s inferences and orientations arising, in part, from theresearcher’s background experiences and gendered interests. Thosepropositions may be generalizable only to similar socioscientific issues and12only under the conditions similar to the ones prevailing in this study. Thestudy does not attempt to generate a ‘grand’ theory, rather it developsconjectures about Grade 10 students’ abilities to reflect on and extract relevantinformation from the story on an issue presented in print and video formats.It is also acknowledged in this study that the research context withinwhich the interview was conducted may create a different type of viewing orreading on the part of students than when students watch or read on theirown at home. And in conducting the study, as with the analysis of theinterview transcripts, the researcher’s prior commitments to and interest inthe topic, particularly in the development of the coding schemes, may bereflected in the interpretations of the study.13CHAPTER IIReview of LiteratureOverviewThis chapter will provide an overview of the issues that havedominated media research. It will specifically draw from studies of print andtelevision media to relate the aspects that characterize responses to thesemedia formats in discussions of sociosdentific issues. An attempt will also bemade to build into this literature review a rationale for the methodology inthis study.‘The Medium is the Message’Since Marshall McLuhan’s proclamation in “Understanding media”(1965) that “the medium is the message”, there have been rigorous attemptsto understand the implication of this conception for media research. In whatcould be a useful starting point, Dommermuth (1974) offered thisinterpretation of McLuhan’s statement: “what we commonly think of as ‘themessage’ is transmitted by some medium which, because of its mechanicalnature, sends a simultaneous ‘message’.” Such an interpretation wouldimply that perception and interpretation of the original message is affected bythe simultaneous message inherent in the mechanical nature of the medium.McLuhan further asserted that different media have different effectsdespite equivalent content, and that a medium’s effect will be in some waysconsistent even when its content varies. The implicit assumption in thisassertion that television, for instance, contained representational codesfundamentally different from those of, say, print precipitated a flurry of14research in the subsequent years. For example, Olson and Bruner (1974)addressed the cognitive aspect of McLuhan’s thesis, asserting that eachmedium is associated with a unique pattern of skills for dealing with orthinking about the world.It is only in the past few years that the attention of researchers studyingthe influence of the media on children, particularly television, has returnedto the forms of the medium itself as distinct from the content presented withthose forms. Before then McLuhan’s ideas had remained a vagueformulation until Salomon (1979b) and Huston-Stein and Wright (1977)began to elaborate the implications of these notions for developmental theorywhich was the core of research. Salomon focused primarily on the influenceof visual media codes on children?s mental processing and mental skills.Huston-Stein and Wright attempted to place television forms in the contextof a broader theory of developmental change in patterns of attention andinformation processing.Salomon (1979b) demonstrated the connection between symbolic formsassociated with technology of a particular medium and the cultivation ofparticular mental skills. He determined that neither contents nor modes ofusage constitute the essential difference between media. What does serve asan essential difference between media is their symbol systems—printedformal language in books, and the unique blend of pictures and sound intelevision. Goodman (cited in Salomon, 1979a) defines a symbol system as aset of elements, such as words, numbers, shapes or musical notes that arewithin each system by syntactic rules or conventions, and are used inspecifiable ways in relation to fields of reference. According to Salomon(1981), the different modes of presentation serve as meaning contexts in atleast two ways. First, different symbol systems, and the different symbolic15components within them, are processed by different kinds of mental skills.Second, the same context presented via different symbol systems appears toyield somewhat different kinds of interpretations.The argument that each medium has a distinct interplay of symbolsystems requiring specific skills has the implication that different contentpresented in the same medium will have some effects in common. It alsoimplies that the effects of two media will differ from one another even whenthey are transmitting the same content (Greenfield and Beagles-Roos, 1988).The results of Meringoffs work (1980) seem to lend support to the secondnotion.In that study, a story was read out of an illustrated book to somechildren, and was shown through animation on television to other childrenof ages 6 to 8 and 9 to 10. She found that exposure to the television story wasassociated more with use of visual information in recall and in makinginferences than with exposure to the illustrated book. Children who hadlistened to the picture-book reading tended to be more bound to the text.More importantly, though, Meringoff found that the children in the bookgroup based their inferences on their own past experience and generalknowledge more often than did children in the television group. The lattergroup, on the other hand, were more bound to the picture and emphasizedthe visual events more. Could it be then that different amounts of processingare realized in different media, leading to different understandings fromsome than from others?Processing of Media InformationIn exploring the notion of information processing, Singer (1980)investigated the possible difference between television viewing and reading.16He attributed differences between media to media themselves, that is to theiressential symbol systems (language versus pictures). Singer argues thattelevision is a “crowded” medium which does not permit the transferring ofpresented content from short-term to long-term memory. Televisionapparently addresses itself to the right brain hemisphere, and allows onlyglobal, “holistic” recognition but no deeper analyses. Further, he claims theunderstanding of, say, a story requires the generation of imagery, buttelevision offers a substitute for the active involvement of one’s ownimagery; thus, it stimulates images, but does not allow for their generation.In short, the rapid pace and flashy pictures in television do not permit itscontents to be subjected to much mental elaboration.According to Singer (1980), print material requires readers to drawupon their own memories and fantasies, to invest time in following the driftof a writer, and to conjure up images—a process that requires much reflectionand effort. Thus, reading may demand more skill for most people, not onlyin manipulating vocabulary but in producing the necessary private imagery.But does such an explanation suggest that television, due to its very nature,does not allow, or even inhibits, deeper processing?The notion that television is a passive medium and that the viewerswill not engage in any deeper cognitive activities is quite widespread(Mander, 1978; Noble, 1983). For example; Noble (1983) maintains thattelevision acts through feelings rather than via cognition and thoughts.Television producers and viewers alike agree that television can arouseemotions, but there is yet very little research available on television’s effectson emotional development and functioning (Pearl, Bouthilet, and Lazar,1982). Researchers have tended to focus on determining whether this notionof television processing implies that the viewer actively processes17information or is simply passive in the course of television viewing. Reevesand Thorson (1986) have proposed a synthesis between these standpoints that:A more useful approach to the question of active versus passiveaudiences may be to try to determine when and how each processoperates rather than assume that one exclusively explains howtelevision viewing proceeds (p. 358).Pursuing this ‘when and how’ notion of information processing,Höijer (1989) contends that it is not possible to fully grasp a viewer’s cognitiveprocessing, comprehension, and perception of a program exactly as theyoccurred during viewing. Nevertheless, by providing opportunities forviewers to communicate their recollections of expository television programsimmediately after viewing, we can shed light on some relevant aspects of theprocessing of television programs. If a viewer is indeed an, activeinformation processor, he or she can be expected to compare the externalinformation to his or her existing structure of beliefs and values. Similarly, ifthe viewer of a television program reflects on what he or she sees and hears,we can say that he or she is an active cognitive processor of the content. Theabsence of program-related thoughts indicates a more passive processing, inwhich the viewer does not compare the content of the program with his orher existing cognitive structures.Media Comprehension ModelsMuch of the earlier research on the effects of television on childrenwas based on a behaviorist model of televiewing, positing the viewer’sresponse as a direct and measurable effect of the television stimulus.Underlying this approach was the assumption that the child is a passiveviewer whose responses to and learning from television are determined by18how much and what is watched. Given the limited role for the viewer in thistheoretical model, and the kind of data produced by effects studies, thegenerally negative reaction to television is not surprising.By contrast, current research (for example, Salomon, 1979b; Huston,A. et al. 1981; Krendl & Watkins 1983; Rice & Wartella, 1981) relies less onexplaining television’s effects through the measurement of observables andsets out to incorporate the viewer’s background knowledge and the actualviewing situation. A reconsideration of viewing as an essentially mediatedexperience may permit a clearer conception of how children’s backgroundknowledge and experience influence their learning from and comprehensionof television—and how in turn, television mediates their experience andknowledge of the world. For many of these researchers, how knowledge isacquired, structured, and used is a critical factor in accounting for children’sabilities (or inabilities) to deal with television’s content and symbol system.This post-behaviorist orientation furthermore obliges researchers to focus onthe viewers’ social environment.Both linguistic and nonlinguistic acts are forms of communicationconstrained, among others, by individual abilities and knowledge. As wegain competence in the world, our perception and knowledge of the worldincreasingly takes on a more linguistic character. We talk about nonlinguisticexperiences in variable terms; we tend to express our understanding ofhuman relationships, of pictures, and of observation through language.Making sense of television’s linguistic and visual informationrequires that the literate viewer draw upon prior knowledge. Visualprocessing of observation data (objects, static or dynamic, pictures or print),and the construction of meaning is a function of stored backgroundknowledge; this includes general knowledge stored in long- and short-term19memory as well as more “immediate” context-specific knowledge. That is, wemake sense of both print narrative and television narrative in terms of whatwe know about the content at hand; we also infer meaning on the basis ofclues extracted earlier in the text or program. Background knowledge,situation and task content mediate our expectation toward incominginformation. In televiewing, as with all communicative activities, theparticipant actively recalls, categorizes, and processes information.In addition, because in television, linguistic and pictorial symbolsystems are transient and because they are presented simultaneously, viewersmay process this information in a very different way than the back-and-forthserial processing of linguistic and representational information in print. It isalso possible that the symbol systems used and their transient nature affectthe mental representation created with television.Indeed, television stands apart from print by virtue of its uniquestructural features: production techniques and the visual symbol system.However, a fundamental aspect of the “meaning” accessible to the viewer isthe reliance of this symbol system upon spoken language and the culturalconvention in which language is embedded. As with text, the viewer callsinto play a variety of linguistic skills and linguistically coded knowledge tomake sense of, and actively interpret a given program. An understanding ofwhat is meant, that is of what is said and shown, depends on some familiaritywith the codes of social life: prior linguistic and nonlinguistic knowledge ofthe world and on our imaginations of it.Top-down and Bottom-up TheoriesTraditionally experimental and developmental psychologists intelevision comprehension research have measured the amount and content20of television watched, the attention span of the subjects and, in addition,observed students’ subsequent behaviors upon exposure to violent programs,for example. Such research has partly been based on the tacit assumption thatsince children are cognitively and experientially less sophisticated thanadults, they could be regarded as inherently passivc, uncritical, andunreflective viewers (Luke, 1987).According to Luke (1987), the schema theory, which culminated fromthese early comprehension studies, is associated with what have come to beknown as “top-down” theories of language comprehension as distinct from“bottom-up” theories. The reciprocity of top-down and bottom-up processinghas been used to explain television and print comprehension. Top-downtheories hold that the reader’s subjective prior knowledge determinescomprehension and the construction of meaning to a greater extent than doesthe text’s intrinsic linguistic features. From this perspective all individualascriptions of meaning to a particular sign or set of signs would be consideredequally conceivable, and actual comprehension would be dependent uponindividual knowledge and experience.Bottom-up theories, on the other hand, hold that meaning isdetermined by the actual textual data rather than in conjunction withsubjective knowledge. This “data-driven” theory of comprehension ispremised on the presupposition that the acquisition of knowledge is a moreor less linear accumulation of information, building from the simple to thecomplex. Individual, conceptual, and cultural frameworks are deemphasized and the subject’s knowledge and the cognitive abilities are seenas wholly determined and manipulated by a given set of external stimuli.From this perspective, given an appropriate set of input data, desired21behavioral, or cognitive responses can be elicited from a subject or group ofsubjects.Within a schema theoretical perspective, therefore, the efficientprocessing of information—whether textual, observation, pictorial, or aural—depends on striking a balance between bottom-up and top-down processes inrelation to a given task or context. Meaning, then, is neither an intrinsicproperty of a particular sign nor is it of the processor’s interpretiveframework. Rather, constructing a meaningful interpretation is a reciprocalprocess between the cues of external data and the conceptual structure of theindividual.Salomon (1981) has applied the concepts of top-down and bottom-upprocesses to explain the interaction between television-specific skills (bottomup) and general ability (top-down) in comprehending television’s form andcontent. The young, socially inexperienced viewer, he notes, relies heavilyon bottom-up processes of decoding and “recoding” messages intomeaningful, internal representations, then integrating or “chunking” theseinto whole units of meaning. With increased experience and age, the childmakes use of broader background knowledge and more general abilities, andincorporates top-down processes in more complex “elaborations” onincoming data. For the older experienced viewer, bottom-up processesbecome automatic, that is basic decoding, recoding, and chunking are nolonger closely and self-consciously attended to. Instead, one mayintentionally seek particular information from a program, predict outcomes,attend to specific production features and reflect on accuracy (or inaccuracy) ofthe presented information. As Salomon comments:22The furthering of one’s television literacy, beyond the basics, isapparently a matter of interplay between “bottom-up,” hypothesis-testing and inference-making processes. Epistemically guided by aconception, expectation, hypothesis or tentative inference, oneaddresses new and more complex elements in a program, and recodesthem to extract the additional information that is epistemically sought.Thus, “top-down” processes guide one to encounter novel elementsand the practise of recoding them leads to improved mastery of newTV-related skills. Improvements of this kind, such as the ability toselectively chunk larger amounts of visual information, lead, in turn,to additional inference and other high-order cognitive productsgeneral abilities and television-specific ones mutually guide thedevelopment of each other (1981, p.11).Factors Influencing ComprehensionMuch of the research on comprehensibility has focussed on howchildren of different ages mainly understand television programs in a moregeneral sense; that is, researchers have sought to trace developmental trendsin understanding that can be related to and explained by what is known aboutcognitive development. In looking for age trends, it is easy to forget thatcomprehension is highly dependent on the form and content of the stimuli,the programs tested.Comparability between studies may be complicated by other factors aswell. In the first place, understanding is defined variously (Woodall, Davis &Sahin, 1983). Secondly, the definition used will determine one’s choice ofmeasures, which is of decisive importance. It makes a big difference whetherunderstanding is measured by asking the children to reconstruct the story intheir own words, to respond to questions, or whether they are asked toabstract the gist of the story. Such methodological differences between studiesmake it difficult to make totally congruent generalizations about children’scomprehension of television programs or print stories.23Despite the fact that studies on media comprehension sometimes lackcomparability because of difference in program content and format, we canstill trace some general factors that affect the cognitive processing ofinformation presented in any media format. Individual differences andvariations due to situational and contextual factors do contribute todifferences in information processing. The important thing is that mentalrepresentations of scenes in the program are created during the act ofcomprehension, and thus, consist of our impressions and interpretations ofthe program as they are represented in our cognitive structures. They alsoinclude other cognitive and emotional responses, such as thoughts evokedduring viewing, which together, feature in the responses about the story orprogram except in differing amounts.In order to communicate the content of our thoughts, at least partly, toanother person, the mental representation must pass through memoryprocesses. We must recall what we earlier experienced. For this reason,when the act of recall takes place becomes an important factor. Bower, Black,and Turner (cited in Höijer, 1989) posit that the memory process immediatelyafter exposure mainly consists of reproduction of mental representationsformed during the act of comprehension. They note that the longer theinterval that elapses, the more reconstructed the memory process becomes.In an interview situation, for example, they suggest that the viewers shouldbe interviewed immediately after exposure in order to minimize recall effectsand the risk that the viewer& memories will be too reconstructed.Predispositions about media use also seem to influence the processingof information received from the media. Television is often perceived toentertain and to serve escapist functions whereas print is perceived to informand educate (Salomon, 1984). Salomon found that significantly more24children attributed success in learning from print to internal causes (“they aresmart”) and success in learning from television to external ones (“its easystuff”). These findings suggest that television is perceived to be an easymedium and print a tough one. Hence, when people treat television as ashallow medium they learn to disregard its potentially more demandingcontents which would have made them exert more or less mental effort inprocessing the content, and in this way further reinforce their predispositions.Therefore, aside from what is medium-determined, one’s expectations of themedium’s demands and one’s beliefs about his or her own efficacy has aneffect on the processing of media information. It could as well be thatperceptions and attributions simply reflect the true nature of the media, thattelevision inhibits deeper processing—and this fact is reflected in children’sattributions—while print requires more focus, and is perceived accordingly.In order to shift student perception of the task demands, students inthis study were informed that after exposure to the story, they would beinterviewed about their understandings. As Salomon (1984) points out,students will then purposefully engage in an activity and will feel morecompetent to succeed in the task. In other words, informing students thatthey will be interviewed after viewing a television or reading a print story,will more likely lead to an in-depth processing of information. Thus, indepth or deep processing does not seem to be a direct function of what themedia actually require but rather of what one thinks they require.25CHAPTER IIIMethodology and AnalysisOverviewThis chapter presents the methodology adopted in the collection of thedata for this study. In it is described the research instruments used in thestudy and the procedure followed in the selection of the subjects whoparticipated in the study. This will be followed by a discussion of the methodsused in the analysis and interpretation of the data.Methodology of the StudyThis study stems from one of the components in the larger study onthe provincial science assessment exercise under way in British Columbiaconducted with the help of a grant to Dr. P.J. Gaskell from the Ministry ofEducation, Assessment, Examinations and Reporting Branch. Thepreliminary development of the instruments used in the study, as to a largeextent, was the collection of data for the main study, was a result of a jointteam effort (Gaskell, Fleming, Fountain, & Ojelel, in press). The particularcomponent from which this study derives its data was conceived to elicitstudent understandings of science-related issues commonly appearing in themedia. In the study, students are presented with a similar story on asocioscientific issue in print and video formats and then interviewed abouttheir understandings. This story is about the ongoing debate about the use ofanimals in scientific and biomedical research. -In developing the video scenario, snippets were obtained from the CBCtelevision news and carefully edited resulting in a five-minute story that26explores the controversy between the need to further human knowledge ofscientific and biomedical processes through research on animals, and theethics of the treatment of animals. The story explores fairly extensively thefundamental arguments for and against the use of animals in laboratoryresearch and gives contextual information on the evidence used in each ofthe positions.One perspective on this issue advocates restraint in the use of animalsin experiments, arguing that scientific experiments requiring animal testing isindefensible. The position is reinforced by the argument that recenttechnological advancements, particularly in the use of computers, togetherwith the growing capability to carry out experiments on tissue samples,should replace animal testing altogether. Furthermore, the argument goes,data accumulated over the years on animal testing shows that animals usedin scientific experiments are poorly cared for in the laboratories andexperience unnecessary pain and suffering during and after experimentation,and yet their systems are far different from those of humans.In the story, the position that advocates for continued use of animals inresearch argues that the use of animals in testing is especially inevitable inthe final stages of the research. They specifically argue that other testingmethods could be employed in the early stages, but an animal has still toserve as the final test before the medicine or surgical technique can be used onhumans. Supporters further argue that laboratory animals are not subject tounnecessary suffering before, during, or even after experimentation asclaimed by the opponents. They also point out that if an animal is bound to-experience pain and suffering after an acute surgery, an overdose isadministered to put it to sleep. These researchers point out that they observetheir own ethical guidelines on the responsible treatment of animals used in27research and those guidelines stipulated by the Canadian Council on AnimalCare. This has resulted in a reduction of the number of animals used inexperiments and a decrease in the kind of experiments that may subjectanimals to unnecessary suffering.As another mode of presenting the issue in this study, a newspaper-type article was written to convey the different points of views explored in thevideo story. While it was essential that the video and print stories be assimilar in content as possible, it was also important that each version retainits symbol system uniqueness. Thus the print version of the story was notsimply a transcript of the video scenario. Rather, information that providescontextual background to the important items discussed in the video storywas included in the print version in order to enhance the readability of thestory. In doing so, information that presents the arguments on the differentpoints of view explored in the video and which could be expressed in anunderstandable vocabulary was written into a one page, two-column story.The drafts of the print and video stories were both extensivelyreviewed by a specially appointed committee in accordance with some of theI?equivalencingl? procedures proposed by Baggett and Ehrenfeucht (1982)when matching information in content-equivalent movie and text stories.After developing the print and video formats for presenting theseissues, an interview protocol that utilized semi-structured questions wasdeveloped to elicit student responses to the use of animals in research. Thesequestions have no choices from which the respondent selects an answer.Rather, they are open-ended, but are fairly specific in their intent. And sincein the study the respondent was required to communicate freely,- thequestions asked were phrased to allow for individual responses. In theinterviews, probe questions were frequently and consistently used in order to28seek clarifications of students’ statements. This enabled the interviewer todistinguish between those ideas which play a significant part in the students’understanding of the issues and those which are generated in response to thesocial pressure to produce an answer in an interview or test situation.On the basis of the interview protocol and on what the studentvolunteers, the following probe phrases were employed: “Could you tell memore about that. . .“, “Did you think of anything in particular when you saw(or read) that?” “Let’s explore that bit a little further.” The amount ofprobing in the initial part of the interview, however, was minimized, thusdecreasing the likelihood that subjects will engage in inferential processes orguessing what the interviewer wants by way of response.The interviewing procedures elaborately discussed in McMillan andSchumacher (1989) were adapted in this study. Before asking the questions inthe interview schedule, the interviewer spent a few minutes with small talkin order to establish a comfortable relationship with the respondent. At thispreliminary stage, the central aim of the interview was made explicit and therespondent was asked whether he or she had any questions or concerns. Inthis case, students were informed that the process was not a test, rather thestudy was interested in gathering students’ ideas about the use of animals inresearch. During the interview, the student was encouraged to express freelyhis or her point of view and was allowed to feel that by asking follow-upquestions, the interviewer was only seeking to clarify what the student hadsaid. The method involved active listening and maintenance of attentionthrough nods, eye contact, and affirmative noises (urn - hrnrn). Thisapproach encouraged the interview to take on a conversational form.29Pilot StudyTo establish consistency in the wording of interview questions, aninterview protocol was developed and extensively piloted with an arbitrarilyselected sample of students from four different schools in two LowerMainland school districts. An interview protocol was developed to cover arange of areas about students’ understanding of and response to the issuesexplored in the scenarios and about their ideas on the interaction betweenscience, technology and society. The beginning questions asked, (1). What thestudent thought the story was about, (2). What the different points of viewexpressed in the story were, and (3). What the student’s own point of viewwas. Questions were also asked that explored the students’ experiences thatcould have informed their points of view and of the additional informationthey would require in order to develop their ideas about the topic further.During the piloting of the instruments, adjustments were made to thesections in the interview protocol that the students found difficult tointerpret. The videotape and print version of the story were likewise pilotedin the same schools as the interview protocol. Sections of the videotape thatthe interviewer perceived to distract students from the central issuesdiscussed in the story were also noted and edited. In addition, some of theexpressions that were apparently difficult to understand in the print storywere accordingly rewritten.Selection of SubjectsThis study drew its participants from a randomly sampled populationof Grade 10 students-across the province of British Columbia who accepted totake part in the provincial science assessment exercise. These students wererandomly sampled from schools in six (6) geographical zones drawn from the30seventy five (75) school districts in the province. The schools in this studywere arbitrarily chosen to take part in the assessment exercise due to theiraccessibility- and readiness to participate. Students were then selected afterestablishing the schools that were to participate from these zones. For thisstudy, three Grade 10 students on the average were randomly selected fromtheir classrooms in each of the six zones and then randomly assigned to theprint or video formats of the issue. Overall, twelve (12) Grade 10 students (6Females and 6 Males) watched the videotape and fourteen (14) students (7Females and 7 Males) read a newspaper-type version on the use of animals inresearch.Interview ProcedureStudents who participated in this study were randomly assigned towatch the video or read the print story. One student at a time was shown thefive-minute video on the use of animals in scientific and biomedicalresearch, or asked to read the print version. Prior to the exposure, studentswere reassured that the exercise was not a test, that is, their responses wouldneither be rated right or wrong, good or bad, nor would they affect theirscience grades. Nevertheless, they were informed that they would later beinterviewed on their ideas about the issue. They were also advised tocarefully watch the video or read the story that was to follow. Students werethen encouraged to try their best to understand the story and told that onlythey can report upon their own thoughts about the use of animals inresearch. However, students were given no cues about the nature of thequestions that would be asked, nor were they given any specific informationabout the topic that they were going to read or watch. -31The subjects were also told that if ever they felt uncomfortable withany parts of a question in the course of the interview, they were free todecline answering such a question. Although these reassurances were madeas calmly as possible in an attempt to elude ‘test’ conditions, it is likely thatsupervised viewing of a videotape, or reading of the story, would be takenmore seriously compared to the televiewing or reading conditions done at thestudent’s owrt time.-The instructions to students were clearly and consistently spelled out atthe beginning of every interview, since:When given essentially comparable material through two media andin the absence of clear instructions, perceptions of the media and ofone’s own efficacy with them are related to the investment ofprocessing effort, which in turn is related to inferential learning(Salomon, 1984, p. 656).Students were not given an opportunity to pause the videotape duringplay, or to play-back. The students who read the story were asked to do so attheir normal reading speed. On completing the reading, they either handedthe script back to the interviewer or put it away. Immediately afterwatching/reading the story, in-depth interviews lasting about 30-mm werecarried out.Data AnalysisAll the interviews conducted with students in the pilot study and themain study were transcribed soon after the interviews were completed andthe transcripts were analyzed for recurring patterns or themes. A theme ofthe students’ response refers to either the direct or indirect statement of thestudents’ central idea of the story. An analysis of the pilot study transcripts32provided a preliminary phase for analyzing and interpreting the data in themain study in order to answer the four research questions. The themes firstidentified in the pilot study are elaborated here in the analysis of the datafrom the main study. Sub-themes have been developed in order toadequately describe the features of students’ responses and to sufficientlyanswer the four research questions posed in this study. The following are theareas around which the results of the interviews conducted in the main studyshall be discussed.(a) Framing of Students’ Initial ResponsesThe first question that the students were asked was, “What do youthink the story is about?tt This question sought to elicit the different waysthat students framed their initial interpretations of the story. The framing ofone’s interpretation of the story is important because it helps an individualdefine the central issues, and specifically sort out from the given informationwhat it is that makes sense. As it turns out, students framed their responsesin a variety of ways. Student responses vary according to the kinds of detailsfrom the story that students selected to use, the images in the video that theydrew upon to describe the story, and even in the match between the giveninformation and the students’ interpretation of the story.The following are the descriptions of the different ways of students’responses to this first question:Reiteration of TopicIn these brief responses students described only a sense of the topic orgave a sense of the difference in the points of view expressed about the issue.These sorts of responses give little information• that would suggest a33considerable attempt on the part of the respondent to capture the trend ofargument in the story. Rather, they reiterate the topic without identifying thedifference between the different sides that are discussing the topic, forexample, “This story was about using animals in research basically” (VM1)1.Or the responses give a general sense of difference with only a mention of thetopic, as in, “The story is about the use of animals for scientific experimentsand if they should or shouldn’t be used” (VF1).One Position with a JustificationStudents also gave responses that identified with only one side of thearguments presented in the story. These kinds of responses convey littlesense of the conflicting sides of the issue explored in the story. Students whogave these responses used value-laden expressions that are rather explicit intheir support for only one side of the story. They do not attempt toacknowledge the alternative position expressed on the issue and itscorresponding justification. Rather implicit in these responses is a sense thatthe student is overwhelmed by the arguments of one side. For example, “Thestory is about animals being used in laboratories for curing diseases andfinding out about diseases” (FF1).Sometimes these kinds of responses are framed in a form thatidentifies with the point of view that is against the use of animals in1This code format is used throughout the document to distinguish students’responses. The first letter refers to the presentation format, which in this caseis either Print (F) or Video (V). The second letter indicates the gender of therespondent and the figure shows the response’s arbitrarily assigned number.This first response (1), therefore, was given by a respondent who is male CM)and who had also watched the Video (V) story.34experiments: “The story is about the abuse of animals in the laboratories, andfreezing them and testing on them” (PM1).As mentioned earlier, these responses make use of strong valuestatements that are particularly unaccommodating to the opposing points ofview. And especially when expressing an unfavorable point of view, theseresponses are usually emotionally-charged.“The storyis about animals dying through experimental surgerybecause some scientists are putting, testing things, urn, chemicalsin animals instead of humans” (VF2).Two Positions with JustificationsSome of the students were able to identify the conflict in the storytogether with the essential arguments behind the different sides of the issue.Students framed the issues in a variety of ways, perhaps because a number ofissues on the use of animals are raised in the story. In this analysis, however,a clearly stated issue is recognized when it consists of explicit positions thatare supportive of and opposed to the use of animals in scientific research,followed by the justifying arguments for the different positions taken on theissue. Because an underlying value judgement is inherent in eachjustification for a position on the issue, and since our personal values ratevariously across issues, the issues discussed in the print and video story aresubject to multiple interpretations.Given below is an example of how students framed the issuesdiscussed in the print and. video stories in terms of the ethics of usinganimals in experiments and the human need to seek cures for diseases:“A lot of people are debating about whether or not we shoulduse animals for testing out. People are saying whether or not weshould do research on animals ‘cause some people feel that ithurts or harms the animals, it’s not fair to the animals, others35feel that if we don’t use the animals well, we’d be behind insome of our medicines and we’d have to use people to test it onand they don’t want that’ (PF2).Other students perceived and framed the issue quite differently, theyframed it in terms of the disagreement over just how much the alternativescan replace the animal models:“It’s about a debate between two groups, the group that believesthat experimentation on animals has a place in society, and theother group that thinks it is unnecessary and can be replaced bycomputer methods and other methods” (VM2).(b) Identification of the Different Points of View in the StoryIf students had not identified the different points of view in theirresponse to the first question, they were specifically asked to identify thedifferent sides of the issues discussed in the story. In most cases students didnot voluntarily give this information in their initial response. A response tothis question helps the researcher to explore students’ ability to extractrelevant information about the arguments of the different sides. Anawareness of the various points of view is important for two reasons. First,such an awareness is valuable when we are trying to make a responsiblejudgement about the overall desirability of a course of action. The morerelevant facts we take into account in making such a judgement the moreresponsible the judgement is likely to be. Knowing the points of view fromwhich value judgements may be made gives us a good picture of the range offacts that are relevant to our judgement of the credibility and relevance of theinformation. The second reason for being aware of various points of view isthat such an awareness helps us avoid the mistake of supporting a judgementfrom one point of view with reasons that are appropriate to a different pointof view.36Some of the ways in which students identified the different points ofview from the story are described below:Students’ own ReactionOther than identify the points of view expressed in the story asspecifically requested, some students felt strongly about the issues right-awayand instead gave their own reaction to the issues explored in the story. Insome instances, students first identified the points of views expressed in thestory and then summed-up the different positions with their own points ofview. For example,“There are people on one side that think that they should beresearching, and they say that if they don’t do it then thehumans won’t live as long, and people that don’t want it saythat it’s cruelty to animals and it’s unfair to ‘em. I think thatthey shouldn’t be able to do it unless it’s really, really important,‘cause urn, animals have lives too” (VM3).The Different Points of ViewStudents also identified and described the different points of viewexpressed in the story in terms of the positions taken on the different sides ofthe issue and often with an accompanying justification for the differentpositions. A justification consisted of the reasons or the kind of argumentsused by the different sides to support their positions on the use of animals inresearch. Some students saw the essential conflict presented in the video asthat between those supportive of the use of animals in experiments becauseanimals have been and continue to be used for seeking cures for mainlyhuman diseases, and those who do not support the use of animals inscientific or biomedical research because they see the use of animals in37research as a violation of animal rights especially when alternatives to theuse of animals in research are present.Students described the different points of view in various ways:(1) Positions with No JustificationsIn some of the responses, even when specifically asked, it is commonfor some students to give responses that give only a general sense of theperspectives used by the different sides to justify their positions on the use ofanimals in research. Often these kinds of responses portray the sense that twosides are presented in the story, but these responses only offer generalinformation to support the different sides. Essentially these kinds ofresponses could be categorized as superficial since little attention appears tohave been paid to the information in the story that explains the reasons forthe different positions on the issue. One revealing example of these kinds ofresponses is given below:“Well there’s one guy that’s against it in the video and he thinksthat we should do it because it’s airight and they don’t need todo it and they just do it needlessly. And the other people, theguy from SFU animal experimentation place says that it’s, youhave to do it to see what it’s gonna do to the person that you putit into, the drug or whatever it is, so they experiment on theanimals” (VM4).This response conveys only a general identification of the informationdiscussed in the story.(ii) Positions with One JustificationThese are the in-between responses; they have identified the centralconflict but have offered a justification for only one of the sides leaving out38the reasons for the other side. They represent the respondent’s awareness ofthe alternate viewpoints on the issue but who, at the same time, consciouslychooses to disregard them, perhaps because they are not consistent with thestudents’ own point of view on the issue. For example:‘Well one is that they shouldn’t at all use animals and the otherone is that they don’t hurt them and if it is proven, if the testsdo, urn, result in permanent damage or injury, then the animalsis put to sleep. I don’t know, I don’t feel that animals should beused, but on the other hand if they weren’t, some cureswouldn’t have been found. I think if it’s just, urn, like just,can’t think of the word, urn just watching them, you know, in alaboratory its okay, I guess, but if they’re using it, using theanimal and its going to cause permanent injury so they kill it, Idon’t think that’s right” (PF3).(iii) Positions with Two TustificationsSome students were very articulate about the issues discussed in thestory. By accurately identifying the different sides represented in the disputein terms of groups of people, the different views or perspectives expressed,they were able to express clearly the different points of view on the issuesdiscussed in the story. For example:“There was the one point of view that we must test on animalsbecause it betters the human life-span and they’re closely relatedto humans and so that we have to, in order for humans to livelonger, and there is also the view that there are alternatives todoing this such as computer testing or using tissues like, meattissue, and some people argue that it’s not fair that we’resacrificing these animals for our needs” (VF3).(c) Students’ Points of View on the IssueStudents were also asked to give their own points of view on the use ofanimals in scientific research in the light of their understanding andinterpretation of the information discussed in the story. Asking students to39give their points of view enables them to clarify their own ideas on the use ofanimals in research particularly in response to the perspectives expressed inthe story. It also offers students a chance to critically examine the credibility ofthe information or to question the assumptions behind the arguments usedby the different sides to support their positions.The Array of Student ViewsStudents expressed their views on this issues in a variety of ways.Given below are some of the main ideas behind student& points of view onthe use of animals in research:a. I support the use of animals in research as long as researchersuse only a few animals.b. I am against the use of animals because it is not fair to hurtanimals.c. I support the use of animals as long as the experiments areimportant and help to find cures for human diseases.d. I do not support the use of animals because the kind of animalsthat researchers use could become extinct.e. I support the use of animals as long as the experiments do notcause pain and suffering.f. I do not support the use of animals because we should usealternatives like computer models and human tissue samples.g. I support the use of animals as long as. the animals are alreadysick.h. I do not support the use of animals because animals are not thesame as humans. You cannot be sure that what works onanimals will work on humans.i. I support the use of animals because human needs are moreimportant than the needs of animals.40j. I am against the use of animals because animals have as muchright to live as humans.One of the most commonly expressed views on the use of animals inresearch is that which supports the continued use of animals as long as theexperiments are important and as long as the experiments do not cause painand suffering. The other equally dominant point of view on this issue is thatwhich is opposed to the use of animals in experiments because animals haveas much right to live as humans. There are interesting differences betweenthese views by gender and the presentation format of the issues which will, aswith other findings, be discussed in the following chapters.There are also a number of qualifier statements (justifications) thatstudents expressed for their different positions on the use of animals. Forinstance,“I also think that they should use computers or stuff a bit more ifthey can. It’s better than using animals but I’m pretty sure insome cases they probably have to use animals, so I think that it isokay, but if they can do the work on computers, if it’s gonna costa bit extra money. I think they should use that bit of extramoney to save the animals” (VM5).The student in this example only links the reasons for not usingcomputer models in research to the high costs involved, and to the reasonsexpressed by other students, such as the fact that computer models are onlysimulations, in which case, they are bound to make mistakes.(d) Consistency of Students’ Points of ViewThe fourth research question explored the relationship betweenstudents’ earlier points of view and students’ views on a second, related story41that is more personally relevant to them. The exact wording of this secondstory is given below:A team of scientists at Metropolitan hospital had an ideaabout a new technique for removing tumors deep in thehuman brain. However, member of the team disagreedabout whether to use animals to test the idea. Somescientists tested the technique using a computer-simulatedmodel of the human. Other scientists tested the techniqueon monkeys that had been given injections so that theygrew tumors in their brains. Which group of peoplewould you want to operate on you if you needed a braintumor removed?This story was read to each of the students and it gives students anopportunity to defend and to personally evaluate the consequences of theirearlier points of view on the use of animals in research.Procedure for the Analysis of the FeaturesThe records of the study are entirely audiotapes of each of theinterviews conducted. These audiotapes were transcribed and using acomputer, responses to each of the questions in the interviews weregenerated. They were later grouped to correspond with the research questionsof the study and the print and video presentation formats.After repeatedly going through the responses to various questions,familiarizing with the data, the emergent themes or patterns of the responseswere noted alongside each response in the print or video group. Somestudent responses showed multiple categories. A pattern of the responses wasconsidered an interesting feature if about one-half of the print and videoresponses showed the emergent pattern.Responses from the print and video groups which had commonpatterns were identified, and the sizes of these groups were noted. The42responses that were identified as exhibiting an interesting feature of responseswere then analyzed for variation of the feature by the gender of therespondents.To quantify these results would give a false sense of precision in theexploration of the phenomena under investigation and might also give afalse sense of the generalizability of the study’s exploratory results. The smallsample, the fact that the sample was a sub-sample of a larger sample whichwas itself a sample of B.C. Grade 10 students, the exploratory nature of thestudy, and the method of analysis—analyzing verbal utterances—suggest thatquantification at this stage would not be justifiable and might, in fact bemisleading.Limitation of the MethodologyShort and engaging video materials, and those that present rich andbalanced points of view on the different sides of a socioscientific issue arescant. After an extensive search, ‘one source of video materials which couldapproximate these desired attributes was television newsclips. But in editingthese clips so as to focus information and arguments on the issues, a markedinfluence of the researchers’ understanding of the underlying issues isinevitable. And since socioscientific issues are subject to multipleinterpretations, and given that we have unique personal experiences whichwe bring to bear on our interpretations of new situations, it is likely that someviewers may relate rather differently to this short video story. Nevertheless,the researcher believes that through the extensive reviews that the videotapeand the print story used in this study were particularly subjected, the finalstories are thought-provoking and equally stimulate discussions of thedifferent perspectives on the use of animals in scientific research.43CHAPTER IVDiscussion of Results (I)IntroductionFor convenience of presentation, the discussion of results of this studyhas been split into two chapters. This chapter describes data that correspondto the first and second research questions that focused on the informationabout the presented story. It specifically discusses the features of student&abstractions of the issues from story information and of students’identification of the different points of view presented in the story.Chapter V will discuss data that correspond to the third and fourthresearch questions. In both chapters, an analysis of the influence of thepresentation formats and gender on students’ responses to the focus questionsof this study is incorporated.1. The Framing of Students’ ResponsesBefore an interview begins, students were either shown a five-minutevideo story or given a newspaper-type article of the same story to read. Thissection describes the features of students’ responses to the first question theywere asked, “What do you think the story is about?” Students’interpretations of the story varied widely and exhibit features that will bedescribed in terms of how students abstracted and framed the central issuesdiscussed in the story.The information students chose to use in their abstractions andframing of the issues discussed in the story is an interesting pointer to the44students’ interpretation of the story. The student, guided by his or her ownperception of the purpose of reading or viewing the story, actively selects thatinformation which he or she considers pertinent to the framing of the centralarguments. Students commonly offered interpretations of the story that arerelated to one of the following responses:‘Well, it’s a debate between two groups, the group that believesthat experimentation on animals has a place in society, and theother group that thinks that it’s unnecessary and can be replacedby computer and other methods” (VM2).Or that the story is about,“. . . One side arguing with another, like one side feeling that it’scruel to have animals put through tests and experiments andstuff, and another side saying that it’s fair cause they useanesthetics and it helps save human lives” (PM2).Students’ Perceived Self-EfficacyIn giving their interpretations of the story, some students reported thatthey were poor at extracting information from certain media and werehesitant about the thought of not responding satisfactorily. In what Salomon(1984) has called a ‘perceived self-efficacy’, one’s perception of his or herefficacy with the medium seems to significantly affect the kind of informationextracted and retained from a particular media presentation. For instance,one revealing response is from a student who had watched the video storyand was asked to respond to the question, “What is the story about?”“It was about how the animals were, I’m not so good at this typeof thing, um like the animals were being, like you didn’t reallyneed to do all those experiments on them, I don’t know. I’m notvery good at this type of thing. . . . They could take tissue sampleinstead of like putting the animals to sleep and then operatingon them” (emphasis added) (VF4).45Differences in perceptions of our efficacy with extracting informationfrom a particular medium appears to lead to a possible difference in the kindof information extracted. Low perceptions of our abilities with extractinginformation from a particular medium tends to lead to a superficialextraction of information. Perhaps, for this reason, most of the responsesfrom students who watched the video tend to be brief and often to beexpressed with little confidence in the interpretation of the story. Forinstance,“Um, I think it was about showing both sides, like uh, theanimal, y’know, they have to do animal research but somehow,I think sometimes it’s not necessary, it’s just trying to show bothsides so that you can make a decision” (VM5).Although these kinds of responses were usually given to the visualmedium, it is useful to note that a low perceived self-efficacy with extractinginformation was also shown in some print responses, for instance in theresponse below:‘Well, it’s about, like there’s two sides to the story I guess, likeabout, about using animals for scientific experiments and stuff”(PM3).Perhaps our perceived abilities to extract information from a particularmedium is related to our attributions of the difficulty or ease of extractinginformation from such a medium. We expect certain media to presentinformation in certain ways and this makes us attend to the presentationmodes in those antidpated ways.46Level of EmpathyResponses suggesting a high level of student emotional involvementare framed in a way that provides information that supports only one side ofthe issue. These kinds of responses were found in both presentation formats.However, empathetic statements, particularly about not using animals inresearch, were more frequently given to the video story than to the printversion of the same story. Responses such as,“It’s about animals and how people treat them, how somepeople use them instead of humans and other others are lookingat it like animals have their own feelings and all that, so weshouldn’t treat them like different from humans. We shouldtreat them as equal, as humans treat us” (PM4).connote an interpretation of the story that does not favour the use of animalsin testing but which is sympathetic to the rights of animals.One other difference between these kinds of responses is in the genderof the respondents. Proportionately, male respondents mostly offered one-sided responses. And in terms of the side that is most likely to be portrayed,however, responses from males tend to be explicit about the need to useanimals in research in order to better the human quality of lifeFemales, on the other hand, are more likely to be opposed to the use ofanimals in experiments because they perceive that testing on animals causespain and suffering to the animals and, therefore, is an abuse of animal rights.In either case, the value positions tend to shift to imaginatively enter anotherperson’s feelings.47Details in Students’ ResponsesStudents responses also tended to carry a significant amount of detail.These range from descriptions of the scenes and images shown in the videostory and use of statements in the print story to the extraction of concreteinformation in the story in the form of names of persons or places. Forexample in the print response below:“I think it is about the use of animals in laboratory experimentsand the two different sides arguing against it. On the one side isPeter Hamilton who formed the Life Force, that organization,Animal Rights and the other one is about professors at UBCarguing their point saying that they have to use it because, it saysin there ‘either you use animals or they humans,’ and they wantto use animals instead of humans” (PM5).The details that seem to recur in students’ responses, however, arethose that emphasize specific statements in the story and those that use theexact names of the persons and organizations mentioned in the story. Use ofthese kinds of details in student responses is marked among students whoread the print the story.In both the print and video formats, students were able to identify theconflicting sides about the use of animals in research, for instance, “The storyis about whether or not they should use animals in the laboratory and inresearch” (FF3) Students who read the print story were, however, more likelyto refer to the arguments or justifications for the different sides of the disputeusing many details in their responses compared to those students whowatched the video.What is significant is that most of the responses to the first questionthat were categorized in Chapter 3 as reiterating the topic or a general sense of48difference were offered by students who saw the video story. Below is anexample of a response given to the video story:“(The story is about) whether or not the animals should be usedfor experimentation and I don’t know, to like, I think it is just adebate over if animals should be used, and like to what degree,and on the other hand, not at all, like just using skin types andthe like” (VF5).This observation is consistent with the proposition that the video ortelevision medium is .transient in character because it continuously displays astream of changing images on the screen which has an effect on the extractionof story information, whereas the print medium is regarded as a stablemedium (Kozma, 1991). This feature of television makes it difficult to extractspecific and concrete information from the visual media other than to acquirea ‘gut-feeling’ about what is being discussed. It also makes responses given toparticularly the visual medium take on a less detailed and less complexcharacter.Length of ResponsesAn analysis of the length of student responses shows a differencebetween print and video. Video responses tend to be short and superficial.Responses to the print story tend to be longer and offer detailedinterpretations of the central issues explored in the story. Responses fromstudents who read the print story identified the issues and usually referred tothe premises of the arguments. For example,“Urn, there are a lot of people debating about whether or not weshould use animals for testing out. People are saying whether ornot we should do research on animals because some people feelthat it hurts or harms the animals, it’s not fair to the animals,others feel that if we don’t use the animals we’ll be behind in49some of our medicines and we’d have to use people to test it onand they don’t want that” (PF2).In addition, student responses also spread widely from superficial tomore complex articulation of the debate on the use of animals in research.Both the students presented with the print and video story identified theconflict between the perspectives expressed on the use of animals in testingthe products of scientific research. However, it is noticeable that studentswho read the print story were able to offer lengthy justifications of each of thesides in the dispute that were paralleling those discussed in the story thanthose who watched the video story.This suggests that whereas responses from students who read the printversion articulated the central issues in the story, televiewers monitor apresentation at a relatively low level of engagement, their moment tomoment visual attention periodically augmented by salient audio cues. Andthis is perhaps what makes their processing of information in the storysometimes effortless, resulting in the construction of shallow, unelaboraterepresentation of the information.Issues versus ChronologiesIn giving narrations of the story, students framed their responses to thequestion by describing a sequence of events rather than abstracting the issues,and thereby seemingly responding to the question, “What happened?” Anarration tended to focus primarily on the chronology of events in the story,rather than on the arguments presented. An example from the responsegiven after watching the video story illustrates this feature of studentresponses:50“It (the story) is about how like animals will be used like guineapigs, literally, so we can live longer and they’re talking abouthow one day animals won’t be needed like as much so therewon’t be any suffering for them or us and we can still get- technology” (VF6).Most students can identify that the story is about the use of animals inresearch, and even can recognize that differing perspectives are beingexpressed on the topic, but they are not certain about whether to represent itas a clash of perspectives, in which case as an issue, or simply recount it as astory. The response to first question given below after the student hadwatched the video story is one revealing example.“I think it was something about the people against usinganimals for experiments, medical experiments and then, I thinkit was mostly his, the view of one person and then well theyinterviewed the view of several other people who are foranimals, the use of animals for medical experiments” (VF7).Responses describing what happened, rather than an abstraction ofwhat the story is about, can again be seen in the response given to the videostory below.“The story’s about doctors or, well, whatever they are, are tryingto help animals but other people don’t want them to be, like,they wanna save their lives. The doctors want to figure out thebest way to help these animals because we’re creating moreproblems for them but other people want to help them but theydon’t want to kill in order to figure out more problems” (VM6).These kinds of responses are typically a video phenomenon. Thereappears to be no differences by gender in this feature of responses.512. Identifying Points of View in the StoryAfter responding to what they thought. the story was about, studentswere asked to specifically identify the different points of view expressed aboutissues discussed in the story. Students’ descriptions of the different points ofview discussed on the issues exhibit interesting features. These features willbe discussed below in terms of the issue presentation format and the genderof the respondents.Focus on General DifferencesThe points of view that students were asked to identify required givingarguments that were discussed in the story that were supportive of, andopposed to, the use of animals in scientific and biomedical research. Asearlier defined, a point of view consists of a position taken on the use ofanimals and a corresponding justifying reason for adopting such a position.A central issue in the story is then identified if a recap is made of theinformation in the story on the points of view.For the issues identified, students were specifically asked to give thepoints of view of the different sides. Differences also abound in the students’ability to extract relevant information from the story that corresponds to aparticular position on the issue. Of the students presented with this story, ahigh proportion of those who read the print story identified the differentpoints of view compared with those who watched the video story.The focus on general differences without justifying reasons on theissue was most prevalent among the video responses. A greater proportionof the students who watched the video gave superficial responses that52conveyed only a sense of difference in the points of view. One revealingresponse is the following given to the video story:“Well there’s one guy that’s against it in the video and he thinksthat we should do it because it’s airight and they don’t need todo it and they just do it needlessly. And the other people, theguy from SPU animal experimentation place says that it’s, youhave to do it to see what it’s gonna do to the person that you putit into, the drug or whatever it is, so they experiment on theanimals” (VM4).That is, students’ responses, such as in the example above, identifiedthe different positions about the use of animals in research but did notcorrespondingly give the sorts of justifications in the story that are offered bythe different sides. These kinds of responses were earlier described as onlyidentifying a general sense of conflict in the story. Typically, more malesthan females gave responses that focused on general differences.Disposition to Support One SideAnother feature of students’ identifications of the different points ofview discussed in the story showed in students’ noticeable attention accordedto the kind of information that highlights and pronounces only thearguments of one side. Students who watched the video story gave responsesthat acknowledged general differences in the points of view on the issue, butfurnished detailed information that supports only one side of the story. Inthese kinds of responses, most students felt strongly that animals not be usedin research, and more often at this stage of the interview, even revealed theirown points of view. Reacting to the story line in this way would suggest thatthe visual medium seems to set the agenda for public discussions and,53perhaps by its nature, provokes a personal response to the informationpresented.- “There are people on one side that think that they should beresearching, and they say that if they don’t do it then thehumans won’t live as long, and people that don’t want it saythat it’s cruelty to animals and it’s unfair to ‘em. I think thatthey shouldn’t be able to do it unless it’s really, really important,‘cause urn, animals have lives too” (VM2).This could partly be because of the strong emotional appeal that thevisual medium tends to exert on the feelings of the viewer for the issuesdescribed. Such a disposition to supporting one side of the issue shows in theexpressions in the story that students use in their responses. Quite often,extraneous information is appended to that presented in the story, with theresult that the information presented is greatly exaggerated and sharpened asto provoke a personal response. An example of the students’ description ofthe different points of view expressed in the story is given below.The people for it were saying that it is the only way, that if theydidn’t use animals for experimentation then they would have touse humans but that is not very possible because not very manypeople would donate themselves for the experiment, while theperson against it was saying that it isn’t fair to the animalsbecause they have no say in the matter and just because theycan’t talk, it don’t give us any reason to use them and that theanimals also have feelings, they’re not just blocks of stone”(VF7).Responses in which there is significant influence on the presentedinformation from the student’s interpretation of the story do not seem tohave much variation by the gender of the respondent, but are greatlydependent on the presentation format of the issue. Students who watchedthe video story gave more of these kinds of responses. By taking sides on the54issues at the beginning of the story, it appears that the student does notbecome receptive to the specifics of the arguments used by the other side ofthe issue. -Identifying Concrete InformationStudents’ responses were also weighted with specific informationfound in the story.such as names of persons, their places of work, or any suchother specific information that students selected to use in their responses.Students who watched the video tended to identify the different sides of theissue in terms of the number of persons on one side of the issue, rather thanby the perspectives expressed about it. The most revealing of this kind ofresponse is given below:“There was one chairman or something like that, well the guythat kept coming up there I forget his name, but he doesn’t thinkthat any of the actual operations on the animals and this waythey don’t wake up is necessary at all, like you can just use theskin types and everything and he agrees with that. And thenthere are the other ones that think it is absolutely necessary todiscover diseases and to see how some of their medicines workand everything, and urn, they figure that’s the only way” (VF5).These kinds of responses say something about the kind of information that isextracted from the visual medium. It is apparent that it is difficult to extractconcrete information such as names of persons, or names of groups ofpersons or even use the vocabulary that reflects that in the story with asimilar kind of accuracy as in the print medium.Incidentally, where students identified the different points of view bythe number of persons supporting that point of view in the story, anargument of any one side was relegated to that of the talking heads in thestory. Because the video in this study, rolls at a predetermined speed which is55not under the control of the viewer, the viewer is not free to go back andreview parts of the video. By contrast, a reader of a print story can read at hisor her own rate and can even reread any part of the text at will.The ease of identifying concrete information from the medium seemsto correspond to the characteristics inherent to the medium. Kozma (1991), inhis extensive review of learning with media, has noted that because thevisual medium displays dynamic images which move as the story is told, it islimiting when it comes to extracting specific information from the presentedstory. The print medium, on the other hand, because of its explicitness,makes the extraction of concrete information from the story and use of it insubsequent arguments easier.Whereas the students in the print story successfully identified thedifferent names of the individuals expressing certain views on the issues andsometimes used these to represent the different points of view on the issue,students who watched the video did not as much focus on the concreteinformation presented in the story. These students did not lay emphasis onthe names of persons, places or other such specific information.This feature has an interesting correspondence with the gender of therespondents. Females more frequently gave names of persons and places andused various other details in the story to represent the sides of the issue andto furnish as evidence for the arguments used. Males were not as specificabout this kind of information as females were, nor did they focus on thedetails of the arguments in the story as much. -Emphasis on Images and PropositionsStudent descriptions of the different points of view in the story alsoreflect an emphasis on the propositions in the print story and on the images56shown in the video. A substantial number of statements that students whoread the print story used in their arguments were active reconstructions ofthe propositions in the print story.One point of view was saying that it’s cruel to have animalsused in experiments . . . and they can be mentally and physicallydamaged, but they can ‘t talk so we have to stand up for themOne point of view which is led by some guy from UBC, says it’sfair, they use anaesthetics and if there’s gonna be a major injurythen they just give them an overdose of drugs so that they neverwake up. . .“ (PM2). -Students who read the print story commonly use the italicized phrasesin the above excerpt in their descriptions of the different points of view of thestory.In contrast, much of the descriptions from students who saw the videostory were specific to some of the scenes and the images highlighted in thevideo. These were mostly the images of the animals shown in the video toillustrate the arguments pursued by the different sides to support thepositions they upheld on the use of animals in research.Students’ responses to the video story were also reactions to the audiostatements in the soundtrack or the voice-over narrative of the story thatcorresponded to the images shown of animals used in experiments.It appears that for the same story presented in print and on video,students’ abilities differ in the identification of the different points of viewdiscussed in the story. More of the students who watched the video about theuse of animals in experiments illustrated the justifications of the differentsides by describing aspects of the images that were presented in the videowhich particularly corresponded to the comments in the soundtrack. Forexample,57“. .. There are lots of animals, there’s like not a shortage of catsor anything like that and they’re breeding them, they’re breedingthem especially for that, it’s not like they’re going to your houseand like taking pets and stuff like that so” (VM5).Students who read the print version of the story, on the other hand,addressed the propositions expressed in the print story in their justificationswhen they identified the different points of view in the story.“Okay, some people feel that in testing on animals they’realmost violating their rights, they can’t speak out forthemselves, they’re just animals and they feel, they can feelthings too. They have feelings, well I don’t mean emotional, Imean nerves and that. They can feel it happening to them andit’s not fair to the animals to be put through pain for humanbenefit, and other people feel that well, if we didn’t use theanimals, we’d be so far behind on technology now the life spanurn would be 25 years less. We added 25 years to it and if wehadn’t tested on animals well we wouldn’t have done that, andthe only way to test new drugs is on animals, and they say thatthey’re using lots of precautions, that they rarely ever hurt theanimals and if there is permanent damage, well they would justdo an overdose of drugs and the animal wouldn’t wake up. Sothey feel it’s fine as long as they use precautions” (FF2).This feature in student responses too seems to lend support to theproposition that television tends to highlight the action properties of anarrative while print versions of the same materials highlight figurativelanguage. This is probably because televiewers place the narrative in animagery framework and print readers place it in a temporal descriptive,propositional one.Summary of the ChapterStudents’ responses to story information show that students identifiedand framed the issues in the story in quite different ways. Compared with theresponses given to the print story, responses from students who watched the58video story tend to be less confident, briefer and less detailed, moreempathetic to animals and often framed more or less to describe achronological sequence of events rather than an identification of the issues.Responses also seemed to have a gender difference, with responses fromfemale students being relatively detailed and more empathetic to thetreatment of animals, whereas males tend to give brief, less confident and lesscomplex responses.When students were specifically asked to give the different points ofview in the story, students who watched the video tended to give responsesthat conveyed a general sense of difference. Students who read the print storywere more apt to identify different justifications that were used to identify thedifferent positions on the issue.In identifying the different points of view on the issue, students whoread the print story frequently referred to the statements made in the story asa basis for their arguments. Responses from students who watched the videogave references to story information that are closely linked to the images andscenes described in the story. More females than males drew on the images inthe story as justifying referents for the sides opposed to the use of animals inresearch. They also seem to empathize with the fact that because animalscannot speak for themselves, someone ought to speak out for them.59CHAPTER VDiscussion of Results (II)IntroductionThis chapter presents the second part of the data on students’ points ofview on the use on animals in scientific and biomedical research. It primarilydiscusses the features of students’ own points of view about thissocioscientific issue and further explores the features of these views whenstudents are presented with a second, related story that is more personallyrelevant.1. Students’ Points of ViewUpon discussing the different points of view in the story, students wereasked to give their own points of view about the use of animals in scientificand biomedical experiments. This offers students an opportunity to clarifytheir own ideas in the light of information from the story about the differentpoints of view on the issue. In this regard, students’ points of view enablethe researcher to discern the influence of the presentation format of the storyon students’ understanding of and reaction to story information.It is important to note at the outset that there are generally lesspronounced differences in the distribution of students’ points of view on theissue by the mode of presenting the issue. Students equally expressed viewsthat support the use of animals in research as long as the experiments areimportant and help find cures for life-threatening human diseases. In boththe print and video responses, students expressed views that support the use60of animals in as far as the experiments do not cause pain and suffering. Therewere also views that are generally not supportive of animal testing becauseanimals have as much right to live as humans. -More females, however, are against the use of animals because animalshave as much right to live as humans. In contrast, a majority of the malerespondents support the use of animals in experiments that are importantand that help to find cures for human diseases. They further support theview that animals should be used in research as long as the experiments donot cause pain and suffering.The general features of students’ points of view on this issue followingexposure to either presentation format are discussed under the followingheadings:Acknowledgement of the ConflictMost of the responses to the print story abstracted the differentpoints of view on the central issues and showed an understanding of thearguments of the different sides of the issue. When asked to give a pointof view, a noticeably large number of students who read the print storywere uncertain about which side of the issue to support. For example,“I don’t know, I don’t feel that animals should be used, buton the other hand if they weren’t some cures wouldn’t have• been found” (FF3).They did not, however, seem resigned to support a particular pointof view on the issue, perhaps because students who read the print storydid not seem prompted to evaluate the premises of the arguments of thedifferent sides. The seeming reluctance showed by students who read the61print story to give their own point of view on the issue seems to be asignificant feature of the responses given to the print story.In expressing their points of view, students who read the print storyseemed to be reflective and acknowledged the need to research withanimals, and at the same time, recognize that animals have rights. It wasquite clear that a sense of despair and a feeling of helplessness cloudedmost of the students’ points of view. Statements, such as “I don’t knowwhat we can do instead” or “I know that we have to find things about life,but I don’t know why they have to use live animals. . .“ convey a sense ofstudent predicament on this issue.By contrast, students who watched the video tend to be inclined tosupport one point of view on the issue and they are rather inconsiderate ofthe arguments used by the different sides.“1 think, I know it’s necessary, but I’m against it because I thinkanimals have lives too so I don’t think they should be just takenlightly. I think what they’re doing at SFU is better becausethey’re taking care of them and it’s very clean and everything,but I’ve seen, I’ve seen places where they’re just torturing theanimals. I think that’s wrong” (VF7).Giving a point of view on the issues seems to be strongly guided by thebeliefs one holds about our relations with those persons or animals in ourenvironment. The principle that it is wrong to hurt others generatedappreciable empathetic feelings amongst students and was frequently used instudents’ responses to explain why they felt strongly against the use ofanimals in research. As one student put it“I think it was maybe the way I was raised up that it’s not right tohurt anybody. It’s not right to cut down people, sort of like sinceI’ve been a little kid, right, I’ve been exposed to many things thatare in a way killing things too because it sort of breaks down your62morals and it hurts you a lot because you urn, it’s like sayinghumans are a lot better than animals. Animals have their ownabilities, like we can’t fly, sort of but not with our own body likebirds can. But I think it was like the way I was brought up” (PF4).There are also gender differences in the ways students give their pointsof view. In general, females identified with caring and conserving viewstoward the treatment of animals which sterns in part from the attitude thatanimals are defenceless and need to be protected. The response below givenby a female respondent is a good illustration.“I don’t think they should use animals for experirnents cause it’snot really fair to the animals and urn, they could find otherthings to use instead because, uh I like animals. I don’t think it’svery nice what they’re doing. . . If you like the animals thenyou’d care and you wouldn’t want to see them get hurt” (FF5).Males generally favour the view that, if the research done withanimals is bound to be for humans’ good, then we should continue to useanimals in experiments.“I’m not like against animals or anything, but I actually careabout animals, but if they are our only way to advance, like theknowledge about medicines and things that can eventually savehuman lives, I think it’s alright to use the animals as long as wedon’t use them unnecessarily and as long as we do useprecautions to protect the animals” (VM2).It is noteworthy that some students who watched the video wereprepared to question the validity of what they had seen previously ontelevision programmes about the treatment of animals. After watching aprogram on television, this is what the student made of the experience:I’ve seen some interviews but I’m not sure I could trust thembecause it was just, it was one-sided so they didn’t really give adefense for themselves. It was just reporters going there and63taking pictures so the people in that medical laboratory reallydidn’t get a chance to say anything, so it was pretty biased” (VF7).Apparently in a commonly referred to movie on the use of animals inresearch, “Project X”, in which the monkeys were put through tests todetermine how much nuclear radiation a fighter pilot could withstand in theevent of a nuclear war, one student noted that “they might do that, but Ididn’t know if their view was very realistic, so I couldn’t really judge fromthe movie” (PM3).In the subsequent attempt to grapple with the issue, strong feelingstoward the use of animals and recognition of the realities pursued by thescientific community to seek cures for terminal diseases seemed to emerge.Where we are seeking cures for life-threatening diseases such as cancer andAIDS, to some students using animals while ensuring little pain andsuffering is understandable and acceptable. Sometimes it is acceptable to useanimals because animals have in the past been deliberately culled to keeptheir numbers down. A male student who read the print story used thisobservation to support his position about what we might as well do with theanimals:“I think you should do research on them (animals) to help otherpeople live because if you don’t use them, there are just gonnabe too many of them anyways and then all we have to do iseither feed them and keep them alive, and they get more andmore and you have to kill them and if you have to kill themyou may as well research on them” (PM4).The diverse situations that students brought to bear on theirinterpretations of the story illustrates students’ understandings of the storyand the influence of the mode of story presentation on students’ points ofview. Responses from students who read the print story also tend to be64reflective of the information in the story and generally acknowledge that it isthe differences in values that form the centre-piece of most disputes. Incontrast, responses from students who watched the video story tend to bemore critical of the information in the story probably because of the kinds ofexperiences exposure to the visual medium tends to evoke. It also seemedthat the points of view from these students tended to favour only one side ofthe arguments. And in terms of the gender of the respondents, femalestended to give points of view that emphasize caring and protection ofanimals whereas males perceive the conflict in utilitarian terms.Expressiveness of the Points of ViewWhen giving their points of view on the issue, students who watchedthe video offered polarized views about the use of animals in research. Theseresponses are definite about the positions on the issue they support andparticular about the reasons for the positions.‘Tm totally against it because I just, I don’t believe that, I thinkthey can find different ways of doing it, such as using urncomputers and urn I’ve read that they can like take cells and ofhumans . . . . I just believe that there’re alternatives to usinganimals” (VF3).Interestingly, most of these views are sympathetic to the pain andsuffering that the animals in research experience, claiming that it is not fair tohurt animals or that animals ought to be respected because they too havelives.“I don’t think it’s very good just to do like they did, they bredanimals just for experimentation. The animals didn’t evenhave a life, they were just, all their lives they were just kept in acage and they weren’t let out and just, they were just like theysaid, bred to die” (VF7).65On the contrary, points of view mainly offered by students who readthe print story tend to be considerate of the conflict on both sides of the story.These kind of responses tended to mirror the arguments of both sides of theissue. Often such responses supported a position with a conditionaljustification of that position. These quite reflective responses tend to takeinto account the information given by each of the sides before the studentoffered his or her own position. If reflectiveness could be associated with theamount of emotion brought to bear on ones’ expression of a point of view, itwould appear that responses given to the print story are significantly lessemotional than the video responses.There is also an apparent difference in the language students used toexpress their points of view. Those who watched the video appeared tophrase their responses as a reaction to the video images of animals, usinglanguage that was significantly emotive compared to the print responses. Forexample,“I sort of agree on how they shouldn’t use animals but Ireally didn ‘t think its fair to keep an animal in a cage where itonly has certain amount of room to move, I just didn ‘t likethat. I don’t like it when scientists do it” (VM7).Or“I don’t like it. I think that they can do it other ways thandoing it on animals, like they said in the video through urntissue samples and stuff, but the animals shouldn’t be used‘cause they’ve got no choice in the matter” (VF4).Such an emotional involvement on the use of animals inlaboratories translates the issue to a more personal context and seems to66tune students to the idea that researchers always inflict pain and sufferingon animals.“I think what they’re doing at SFU is better because they’retaking care of them and it’s very clean and everything, butI’ve seem places . . . where . . . they’re just torturing theanimals. I think that’s wrong” (VF7).Most students’ conception of the treatment of animals is linked tothat accorded pets. It would appear that due to the apparent conflictbetween students’ prior ideas about the common treatment of pets, forexample, and the visual images in the story depicting the possibility ofanimals suffering during scientific experiments, responses from studentswho watched the video tended to be emotionally-charged.Students’ ExperiencesUse of prior experiences with the treatment of animals in order tointerpret the information in the story markedly influenced students’ pointsof view on the issue. In both the print and video responses, students usedtheir experiences with the treatment of animals to guide the framing of theirpoints of view on the use of animals in research.What is significant in students’ responses to the treatment of animals,and indeed in the case of any socioscientific issue, are the kind of experiencesthey draw on when responding to the conificting opinions that are associatedwith these kinds of issues. In deciding upon real public questions, it appearsthat it is not the argument that is difficult to follow. Rather it is the task ofdetermining whether certain premises of the argument are in fact true. Indoing so, the focus of our experiences could either be at a personalized levelor at a- level which is wider in scope and at which most people can relate.67More often than not, therefore, what students described as influencing theirpoints of view on the issue seemed to fit two kinds of experiences: personaland social experiences.Personal ExperiencesAs distinguished from social experiences, personal experiences areunique, individualized, and different from those commonly experienced bystudents from the same grade-level. These are the kind of experiences thatare often witnessed at an individual level. In drawing on these experiences,the focus on the individual and on an experience that is unique to thatindividual at that age-level is unmistakable.When asked whether there had specific experiences on the use ofanimals in research that were significant in the formulation of their ownpoints of view on the issue, this is what one of the students said:Student: At one time I figured that they were just animals andthen I saw my dog get hit by a car and what happens tothem when they get cut open, so it is sort of like, oohgross.Interviewer: So that sort of makes you feel that this is the samething that happens in research.Student: Yeah. The only difference is they’re probably, mostlikely asleep but still it’s gross and cruel. That’s theway I look at it (VM7).It is interesting that, even when the student is aware that the two instancesare quite separate, only those incidents that seem to strike the students asepisodic were referred to in the students’ point of view to the issue of the useof animals in research.68Student: Well, I’ve seen like animals being killed and stuff andit’s not very nice, for something not very importantthey’re just being killed, it’s not very fair to them causethey can’t say anything, they can’t stop anyone.Interviewer: Do you recall this particular incident?Student: Urn yeah, my neighbors, they had rabbits or sornethingand they bought rabbits and they killed them to makefood or something. I just thought that was cruel.Interviewer: So what you saw was something that was not for anexperiment? -Student: Yeah, but still, it’s just, it’s still like not being, it’s stillcruelty to the animals (PF5).These kinds of experiences frequently lead the student to empathize with thepain and suffering of animals. One student put it this way:Student: Well, I’ve seen animals suffer before so if they, if they dosuffer that’s pretty bad ‘cause they’re helpless, they can’t,they can’t fight back or anything like that so.Interviewer: Where did you see that from, where do you see themsuffer from?Student: Well like at home and stuff like that. I have a dog andsome cats and then I’ve seen them like when urn, the doghad a broken leg once and it like was crying and all that, sothey do suffer when they get hurt, so they do have painand all that, that kind of stuff (VM5).It is worth noting that responses from students who watched the videostory tended to greatly draw on personal, episodic experiences in interpretingthe story and in formulating their points of view on the issue. And it isperhaps for this reason that responses from students who watched videogreatly empathized with the pain and suffering of the animals much morethan was the case in the responses to the print story.69Social ExperiencesSometimes students associate their experiences to what they hadwatched on television, seen in the movies or encountered in other media.Social or everyday experiences refer to the kind of experiences that could beuniversal and familiar because they are disseminated from public sources.Although the points of view that students who read the print storyexpressed were not explicitly in support of one side of the story, they tended todraw for their justifications reflective arguments stemming from theireveryday experiences with the treatment of animals. A revealing example ofthe kind of experiences that relate to animal testing is given below:“Well urn, I don’t know, I guess it depends, like if, like there aresome times when it’s really cruel, like they’ll put them throughlike pain tests and stuff, urn, that’s cruel. But if it’s, if it’s justlike a medicine, like say an animal’s got, I don’t know if ananimal can get diabetes or whatever, or if it’s got arthritis orsomething, urn, and they’ve developed some sort of newmedicine or something that they don’t really wanna use onanimals right away, urn, I guess it would be fair if it wouldn’tcause any pain to the animal to give it to it, the animal and see ifit survived and stuff like that, urn something to benefit theanimal would be fair, but something just to destroy it, to see howit reacts, I don’t think would be very fair” (PM2).Most females argue that if some cosmetic products are advertised in the BodyShop as “not tested on animals,” and yet these products are just as good, itwould appear that it is possible not to use animals unnecessarily in research.Research involving the use of animals then should be done only inexperiments that are really important.Student: You go into The Body Shop and they have all the, like,well actually a lot of things are written on the packagenow “Not Animal Tested”, I’m talking about make-up70here, like not tested on animals. I guess that kind ofmade me think about the testing on animals and so I dobuy make-up that’s not tested on animals, like, wellbecause it is environmentally friendly, so that’s kind ofgood. I haven’t had like had any experiences with likestuff being tested on like a dog or anything.Interviewer: So it means that you have actually thought about thisissue before.Student: Yeah, before that I didn’t even know it was tested onanimals and then I started thinking, well if it’s tested onanimals it can’t be too good, so, well, why make itsuffer? It’s not just that animals, if they’re, if somemake-up companies can do it without testing onanimals, there’s no point in other companies still testingit on animals if they don’t have to. Obviously there’s away of not to do it (VF3).In the issue of the use of animals in experiments, students stronglyargue for the use of alternatives to testing involving animals such ascomputer models, because their experience with the cosmetics now leadsthem to believe that alternatives to using animals in research is feasible. Onestudent reports having taken it upon herself to educate her classmates in aclassroom project on the testing of cosmetics on animals.“We chose to do this topic for our classroom project because it isnot known, like people don’t realize what the animals gothrough. . . . Even I wasn’t aware. We just wanted to makeourselves more aware, we could have done a topic such as theozone or global warming but we’ve heard about it before. Weknow basically what that is, but we just felt that this was an issuethat needed to be expressed and for people to be more aware of”(VF3).Students’ understanding of the treatment of animals in thelaboratories is linked to their experiences in everyday life of suffering71animals, from which they infer the treatment of animals in research. To oneof the students, this is what comes into mind when discussing this issue:“I have seen pictures from the SPCA where they’ve shown theanimals lying there and then it is going through needless pain,they’ve knives sticking out of them and they’ve got sores andthen it is not even, doesn’t even have anaesthetic, so I think thatis really cruel to them” (VF7).‘Some students also offered, what I may call, realist views on the use ofanimals in research.. The insistence that animals be used in circumstanceswhere there are no alternatives, in which case as a last resort, and only insituations where the experiments are important, was widespread:“I like animals and everything but there are just some diseasesthat should be cured and I guess killing animals is the only way,but only for those ones, but I’d rather they didn’t have theanimals die and everything.. . . Urn there was this one show andthey froze an animal like a dog and he was clinically dead for anhour and then they thawed him out and they just did it to see ifthey could do it and I think that’s stupid” (VF5).Students report that they do not remember discussing this kind of topicin Science or Social Studies classrooms. Instead, most students say the closestthey came to discussing this issue in school is when they wrote essays about itin English and Social Studies classes, but not in Science. Students, however,report doing or seeing demonstrations of dissections in their science classes,but they see the arguments about the use of animals in research differentlyfrom doing a dissection:Interviewer: Have you ever done a dissection or even seen ademonstration of a dissection?Student: What I’ve done is cutting up an eyeball or a cow’s eyeand a worm. That’s about it.72Interviewer: Do you see the arguments in this video as applying to adissection of an eyeball?Student: Urn well one I know, the cow was butchered anyways allfor meat, so why not, I mean it’s gonna go to wasteanyways. Why not put it towards learning? And yeah, Ithink that’s okay I mean cause it would just be discardedanyways, so why not use it towards education?Interviewer: What about in the case of the worm?Student: Now I’m not sure exactly how that was. Urn, I thinkyeah it is a bit gross, taking a worm, but it depends onhow they’re bred, so, you know, worms are really easilybred, they breed fast (PF6).This illustrates that a wide-range of experiences are brought to bear on theinterpretations of socioscientific issues. The more reflective points of viewoffered to this issue seem to come partly from those experiences on the issuethat are rooted in student& interactions with animals in everyday life, such asin conservation and hunting of wildlife, in television programmes, or evenfrom their experiences with dissections in science classrooms. It also appearsthat the students who read the print story mostly tended to draw ratherextensively on a variety of societal experiences and, as a result, offeredrelatively more reflective points of view.Substantively, however, more students are in favour of the view thatanimals have as much rights to live as humans and they should not,therefore, be used in experiments. And fewer students agree with the use ofanimals if the experiments involved no pain and suffering, or if theexperiments could be shown to be important.732. Consistency of Students’ Points of ViewThis aspect of the study explores the consistency of students’ earlierpoints of view on the issue and their views on a new and related story thatrequires students to make a personal choice and evaluate the consequences ofthat choice. It also provides the student the opportunity to defend andpossibly modify his or her earlier point of view on the issue. To investigatestudent responses, the researcher read this second story to both the studentswho saw the video story and to those who read the print version of the story.As in the articulation of students’ own points of view on the issue,there is little variation between students’ points of view on this second storyand the format in which the issue was first presented. However, there areinteresting features of how students evaluated the consequences of usingtheir initial views on the use of animals in research in the second story.Evaluating the Options PresentedFaced with relatively discrete choices to choose from, most studentsactively sought an understanding of factors that were clearly not mentionedin the initial story and that clearly were guided by the the students’ own dailyexperiences. Students elaborately questioned the safety of the methods ofcarrying out the experiments and extensively explored the flaws of each of theoptions in the second story. For example,“I don’t like the idea of them injecting a fluid into the monkeyand have it grow a tumor in the brain because that wouldprobably be fairly painful. But on the other hand, if they just doit on a computer, then it’s not very realistic and if you work onme they don’t have the dimensions and it’s not really threedimensional, they don’t have the experience” (VFV).74Students also tended to elaborately examine some of the premisesbehind the justifications for the various positions on the issue much more insome modes than in others.Some students saw the argument in this hypothetical scenario as onefocusing on the experience gained from practising on the “real” thing asopposed to one gained from practising on a “simulation”. There was nomention or even hint of any of these kinds of distinctions in the originalstory. To the students, the experiences gained in these two cases arequalitatively different and not comparable. For instance, one of the studentswho had expressed the following point of view on the original story,“Well I think it’s okay if it’s controlled like after the animalshave surgery, they have a terminal overdose and they don’texperience any pain, that’s okay. And I think it’s okay if theyhave to find, y’know, cures for diseases and they said the catswere bred for that purpose so, I don’t think that’s bad but theyshould, I think, use computers or stuff a bit more, like if theycan, it’s better than using animals, but I’m pretty sure in somecases they probably have to use animals so I think that’s okay”(VM5).also attempted to evaluate the options presented in the second, related storyarguing that,Student: I’d probably go for the, the scientists that were using themonkeys because like their computer is not exactly likethe real thing and if I had a tumor I would want to makesure that the operation was gonna be successful so I’dprobably go with the scientists that were gonna use themonkeys because it’s more like, it’s real life, it’s realanimals, it’s a real brain so, you know it’s gonna bemore sure proof, so I have to go with the scientists thatuse the monkeys.Interviewer: So why would you not go with others?75Student: The computer model is a simulation, that’s all it is, it’s asimulation, like urn, there, there could be things that,that they could be missing in the simulation but ifthey’re using the monkey it’s like urn, you’re gonna see.things that are gonna happen that you might not see on,on the computer ‘cause it’s not a live thing, so that’swhy I’m for the monkeys (VM5).Some students explicitly critiqued the assumptions behind the use ofmonkeys for experiments using the argument that because animal systemsare so different from those of humans, what works on an animal may notnecessarily work in humans. This was also picked up and used by one of thestudents who is not supportive of the use of animals and believes that thereis all the reason to trust in technology.Student: I’d probably choose the ones with the computer .because a monkey’s brain may not be the same as aperson’s brain and also I don’t agree with using animalsso I’d rather have it done on a computer instead of likeputting the animal in danger so I’d say I would pick thecomputer.Interviewer: So you’d actually pick a computer because you don’twant the other one. You’d not pick a computer for whatit can do.Student: Yeah and also, well I’d pick it because it’s more like, it’sthe human brain not an animal’s brain so it’d probablybe like more exact because what works on the animal’sbrain may not work on a person’s, so it’d be more likeme, like my brain (PM6).Students identified computers as capable of doing a thorough job andwould complete the analysis to the precision that would ensure a smoothoperation.“I’d like the computer people to do, maybe because computerdoesn’t miss a detail, not saying that the guys who operate on amonkey would miss a detail, but the computers are so thorough76and everything and I’m sure they have a nice or a goodcomputer to simulate the procedure” (PM5).Perhaps what is apparent in each of these responses are the values inherentin each response. These underlying value positions and justifications werenot directly addressed in the original or in the second story, and were, moreoften, not highlighted in the students’ earlier points of view.As to the extent .to which we can trust the capabilities of the currenttechnology, some students willingly tackled some perplexing questions:Student: I want the monkey stuff, because if it works in thecomputer, they know it will work in the computer butwill it work on you? But if you use a monkey to see if itwill work or not, so I hate to say it, but I’d probablychoose the people that worked on the monkey, becauseit will probably work on me too, monkeys are more orless close to us.Interviewer: So when it actually comes down to the crunch, youprefer the old animal researchers.Student: Yes. I hate to say it but yeah (VM2).Grappling with these kinds of views makes it difficult to formulate anopinion on the use of alternatives to animal testing because it drags us intothe unfamiliar grounds of some technical subject area. Admittedly, thereisn’t as yet conclusive evidence on the capabilities of the current technologyto substitute the use of animals in research.In any case, the uncertainty about technical information was a sourcefor a flip-flop in the students’ earlier points of view. Students who hadearlier emphasized the use of alternatives in scientific and biomedicalresearch and had somehow avoided taking sides on the use of animals, foundit favorable to choose scientists who had practised their technique onmonkeys. And as one student observed:7,7“I don’t think the computer testing has been given a chance, Imean if it had been proven to me that yes computer testing wasreliable, then yes I would choose the computer testing. I justthink that part of it hasn’t been looked into enough and givenenough chance to be able to work” (VF3).It may be important to note that whereas there was little observabledifference in the way students evaluated the options in this second story by- the formats of presentation of the original story, the insights students gainedin evaluating the options in the second story seem to follow from students’earlier articulation of their points of view on the original story.Checking with the Earlier Point of ViewAn attempt to understand the new information in the second story inrelation to the original story encourages students to resolve anycontradictions and inconsistencies between their own notions of researchinvolving animals and those explored in the story. And since in the storythere are only two groups to choose from, one has to carefully consider theconsequences of choosing either group in the light of the specific informationabout the use of animals in research. A choice of the scientists who practisedon the monkey brain would seem consistent only in as far as one’s viewswere in favour of using animals, that is if the earlier views were expressedwith conditions for the use of animals in research, say, in only importantexperiments. Where conditions under which animals could be used inexperiments were already outlined in the students’ point of view, choosingthe scientists who had practised on the monkeys was easier.Occasionally, students maintained their opposition to the use ofanimals in research even after they had evaluated the consequences for78choosing one group of scientists because they desired to uphold their moralstandards. After some considerable reflection, one student responded in thisway: -Student: I think I would want the, I’d choose the computer one,the scientists that experimented on the computer.Interviewer: So what would be your reason for not choosing the oneswho experimented on monkeys?Student: If I said, when it comes to me, if I said that I wantedthem to use the ones with the monkeys then it wouldbe, it would make me very hypocritical, I mean, becauseI’m sitting here and I don’t want them to use animalsfor experiments but when it comes to my benefit and Isay “Okay use the animals” then it would be very unfair,so I think I’d, I would tell them get the ones that use thecomputer to operate on me.Interviewer: Regardless of the consequences?Student: Yeah I think so.Interviewer: So you would actually pick the ones that used thecomputer, not out of the fact that you want to recover,just for the fact that you want to be consistent with theway you are arguing?Student: Yeah (VF7).Students also attested to choosing the scientists who practised on acomputer-simulated model for quite different reasons. They have faith in theprecision of the current technology; they hold the view that the capabilities ofthe current technologies are enormous and for this reason computers can betrusted to successfully accomplish delicate tasks:Student: I would, I’d probably go with the computer and take arisk.Interviewer: You’d risk your brain -79Student: Em, em.Interviewer: Okay,Student: I know, it sounds crazy though, but I do have faith inlike computers and all these modern technology cause ifyou do it on a monkey you only do it once and then youthink you got it, you do it on a computer they probablydo it like five hundred times, from every aspect, and ifyou have a different brain tumor than the monkey, itsnot like that you’re going to live anyways (VF6).In some other responses students had it that scientists who practised onmonkeys should first compare their results with those who practised on thatcomputer-simulated model of the brain so as to increase the chances that bothresults would equally be good. In this situation, they argue, scientists whopractised on a computer-simulated model are the appropriate choice to carryout the operation, after all, in order to design and use a computer to that levelof precision, these scientists must equally be apt at doing whatever they aredoing with it.Student: Well even though I’d probably know that the ones beingused on monkeys would probably work better, I’d, thecomputer one could work just as well if they had, if theydid like the study really accurately, then they’d probablybe able to work the same thing the right way, like with, Iwould probably not choose the monkeys even thoughthey may be, they may know what they’re doing, but ifthey came up with the same results in the end, then thecomputer ones work just as well and that’d probably bethe ones I choose, the computer team.Interviewer: So you are saying you would not choose the scientistswho used the monkeys. Why would you choose thecomputer team?Student: Well they’re probably, they probably really know whatthey’re doing to be able to use the computer like that.They probably know exactly what they’re doing, and if80they test, if they were working on the computer thenthey probably had it all right, I think (PF5).Indecision arose when the students could not choose between the twomethods based on the information provided. That is which of the methodswould enhance a smoother and successful surgical operation. Because thereare enormous trade-offs involved in each of the sides, some students opted toseek more information before they would take the operation. As in,“Well I’d have to look into more information because for onething, the computer program you know, a computer programcan’t become a human brain, so it could be wrong urn and it’s nowhere close to a human brain so how do you give a computermedicine anyway? But anyway, see that’s the problem. I guessthat a computer does not really simulate an actual brain so Iwouldn’t really trust it too well but I would, like using theanimal like give it injections so that it has a tumor, urn I guessit’s cruel, so I wouldn’t really know who to go for. I’d have tolike look into further information because urn there’s bothfaults in each” (PM2).When specifically pressed to outline the kind of information that they wouldseek, the focus point became the question about the process the research wasconducted in order to justify the product of either research. “Did the monkeylive after the operation? Which one bears more risk: scientists who practisedon a computer model or those who practised on monkeys?”Consistent Points of ViewThe foundation for students’ points of view on the use of animals inresearch seems to rest on the argument that practising the technique on a“real” thing, in this case a monkey, affords scientists “real” experience.Subsequently, such scientists make less mistakes when it comes to effectingthe surgical procedure to remove, say1 a tumor from inside the human brain.81This idea of ‘real’ experience was not only very convincing to students, it wasvery popular as well. Students’ decision on which scientists to choose to carryout the operation seems to rest on the belief as articulated by one student that“The scientists using the monkeys have hands-on experience but thescientists using the computers don’t. They use keyboards and I don’t thinkkeyboards will help them when they do a human being” (PM4).Partly this conception seems to reflect students’ everyday experiencesand specifically students’ understanding of how work done with a computerproceeds as compared to that carried out with a living specimen such as amonkey.“(With a computer) you just can’t get in there. You can’t useyour hands, you’re not using your hands to go in there, you’reactually using buttons on the computer to take it out. You’re notusing the instruments, you’re not urn just standing there. It’sjust a screen and you’re just watching it and pressing buttonsand then just going in there without your hands. So if I had abrain tumor in my head and I had to get it removed, I think Iwould want them, to experiment on the monkey . . . because Idon’t like the computer thing” (VF7).The inclination also seems to be grounded on their everyday understandingsthat hands-on experience is superior to using a computer which they seem toperceive as only a disk, and which is not alive, after all:“Because a computer’s not something that is alive, a computer’sjust, just uh, it’s just a disc and it’s not alive or anything. Like,they don’t know what could happen, it’s just straight forward,the computer, but the monkey is like, they’ll realize what to do ifsomething goes wrong or something does right” (VM6).Students are not excited about choosing scientists who practised on acomputer-simulated model of the human brain, and are also not comfortablewith other alternatives to animal testing because of their understanding of82the human dimension in the construction of a computer. From the commonbelief that humans are not perfect, a computer being a direct product ofhuman art, is likely to malfunction during use. In addition, it may not showcritical side-effects which if undetected would be fatal. One student put theidea of using animals in cases such as these in this way:“Because monkeys are supposed to be so biologically related to ushumans and I guess. I would think that um, if it worked on, if itwas fine on them then it would maybe be fine on, I don’t know,I guess that it would probably be that, just because they’resupposed to be so closely related to us” (VF3).By this line of argument, one is at a higher risk in an operation conducted bythe scientists who had practised on the computer-simulated model of thehuman brain than if the surgery is conducted by scientists who practised onthe “real” thing. These kinds of students responses do not seem to reflect anyelements of the information presented in the original story.On the contrary, the reason for maintaining one’s earlier point of viewon the issue seems to be grounded in the students’ belief system. To onestudent, switching between the personal and public contexts is just morallyinappropriate.“If I said, when it comes to me, if I said that I wanted them to usethe ones with the monkeys then it would be, it would make mevery hypocritical, I mean, because I’m sitting here and I don’twant them to use animals for experiments but when it comes tomy benefit and I say “Okay use the animals” then it would bevery unfair, so I think I’d, I would tell them get the ones that usethe computer to operate on me” (VF7).Modifications of Students’ Earlier ViewsNot all students were consistent in their points of view on the issue.When presented with a second situation which called for a more personal83decision on the issue, some students either made a decision in contrast totheir original position, or were undecided on an appropriate choice in thelater scenario. For example, one student who watched the video story hadthis point of view on the original story:“I think that they can do it other ways than doing it on animals,like they said on the video through tissue samples and stuff, butthe animals shouldn’t be used because they’ve got no choice inthe matter. . . I just hate seeing animals suffer because they’ no way of defending themselves really” (VF4).However, after being presented with the second story requiring the choice ofone of the two groups of scientists, this is how she attempted to modify heroriginal point of view:Student: (I’d) most likely (choose) the one that has the monkey,but that’s sick because it’s not what I wanted to say.Interviewer: What did you want to say?Student: I wanted to say the computer one but that wouldn’t beright because there’s, if it’s just a computer you’d, nowI’m sounding dumb again.Interviewer: Okay catch your breath first and then...Student: I’m going back with whatever I just said and changing itaround. Um...Interviewer: So which one would you, which group of scientistswould you pick here?Student: Actually I might, I don’t know which one I wouldchoose I guess. Maybe the monkey one, but then thecomputers seem to be pretty good. I don’t know. I guessyou’d have to really look into it and see which onewould be best, but I don’t know which one (VF4).84Backtracking in the students’ point of view was also noticeable in thesecond story. When the choice of the group of scientists is contradictory tothe original line of argument, the change is always such as to favour the useof animals, instead of having to change one’s opinion to preserve animals.This is an example of how a student who read the print story attempts toaccommodate the discrepancy between an earlier viewpoint on research usinganimals and one on the second story:Student: I guess the monkeys. Computers aren’t always rightand you have to know if it really does work and thentry it on a living thing.Interviewer: But earlier you told me you weren’t too happy aboutthat.Student: I know, but...Interviewer: So now you still don’t look too happy, but you’d stillpick the monkey.Student: Yeah.Interviewer: So you’ve changed your mind?Student: Yeah but it’s not right, but still I wouldn’t trust acomputer (PM1).Students made various choices and gave varied reasons for theirpositions. These reasons were entirely tied to the everyday experiences ofsolving problems. In the process of choosing the favorable alternative,remarkable reconstruction of the previous arguments made about usinganimals in research was evident. This can be seen below in the discussionwith one of the students:Student: Probably the monkey group. You don’t really, when youare using computer it’s not like the real thing, it’s just a85dot, a picture of it, you know, well they have the featuresand that but it’s not the same...Interviewer: So earlier, you said you really didn’t want to use theseanimals, now you say you would pick those whopractised on the monkey. Tell me what has happened sothat you are now thinking that way.Student: For these animals should just, now it won’t make sense,ha, urn, animals should just be used to test for things butnot like cosmetics . . . cause . . . they are not a threat toyour life but some diseases are. If they only kill like oneanimal to test for certain diseases it’s okay than having100 people die.. . I know that I said that it’s not right tokill animals but for certain reasons they should beallowed to test on the animals (PM4).Students realized that they couldn’t possibly retain the principles theyadvocated in their points of view at a personal level without addressing thealternative position to the conflict. One student followed through in thisway:“. . . I understand why they test on animals. I understand theirreasons for it and may be I would do it too. . . Even though I say Iam against animal testing I guess I would have to (choosescientists who practised on a monkey) because it would dependon my life and that sounds selfish and I know” (VF3).It is interesting that those who had earlier rejected the use of animalssought compromise positions after realizing that there were discrepanciesbetween their views on the second story and what they had earlier discussed.The flip-flop tendencies are equally recurrent in responses from students whoread the print story or watched the video.On the whole, students’ points of view in terms of the original storyremain relatively consistent when presented with a second, related story thatattempted to make the issue more personally relevant to them. But thesepoints of view have little in common with the original story, and are least of86all affected by the presentation format of the original story. Females, morethan males, tend to be more consistent in their views and continue to supportviews that are consistent with caring and protection of the animals.Summary of the ResultsStudents’ points on view on the issue show little difference in thedistribution of the various points of view by the presentation format of theoriginal story. In general, compared with the points of view given bystudents who watched the video, responses from students who read the printstory tended to acknowledge the conflicting points of view and gaveconditional points of view on the issue.Students who watched the video gave points of view which wereeither supportive or not supportive of the issue and tended to use argumentsthat are more or less critical of the opposing wides. Consequently, responsesgiven to the video story were relatively emotionally-charged than theresponses given to the print story.It is also interesting to note that students tended to situate theirunderstandings and interpretations of the story in some familiar backgroundexperiences and drew on their personal or societal experiences to supporttheir positions on the issue. In their arguments, students who watched thevideo tended more to draw on their personal experiences with the treatmentof animals whereas those who read the print story frequently referred tosocial an everyday experiences. The gender feature in students’ points ofview seemed to show in the kinds of views that students expressed. Femalestended to give views that were geared toward caring and protecting animals,whereas males correspondingly seemed to give views that were utilitarian.87In the fourth research question, it is clear that the presentation formatof the original story did not have a noticeable influence on students’ views onthe second, personally-oriented story. Students’ points of view on theoriginal story remained fairly consistent when they were presented with thesecond story that presented the issue in a personal context. Females, morethan males seemed to give views to this second story that were fairlyconsistent continuing to support views that are consistent with the caring andprotection of animals.88CHAPTER VIConclusions and ImplicationsIntroductionThis chapter indudes four sections which discuss conclusions of thefocus questions of the study:1. What are some of the features in the ways students frame theirresponses to “What is the story about” after exposure to the sameprint or video story?2. How do students’ identification of the different points of viewdiscussed in the print or video story compare?3. What are the different ways students give their own points ofview after watching the video, or reading the print story?4. What modifications, if any, are there to these points of view onthe issue when students are presented with a second, relatedstory that is more personally relevant to them?The chapter also discusses the implications for science teaching andcurriculum development arising from the findings of this study. Possibilitiesfor future research to explore students’ responses to a socioscientific issuepresented in different media formats are also discussed.CONCLUSIONS1. The Ways Students Framed their ResponsesWhen presented with a topic for which there is no consensualagreement, it is important for us to define for ourselves what the dispute isabout. Finding the central value questions over which there is a lack of89consensus is the first step to understanding the issue. Identifying the essenceof the conflict enables us to critically examine and appropriately respond tothe relevance and credibility of the justifications used to support the differentpositions on the issue.In this study, students were presented with one of the socioscientificissues periodically appearing in the media. Grade 10 students were presentedwith the ongoing debate about the use of animals in research in print andvideo formats. Students’ knowledge of the treatment of animals in everydaylife together with their understandings of doing science gives studentssufficient background knowledge to interpret the print and video stories andrespond to the question “What is the story about?”Students’ poor efficacy with extracting and using informationpresented in the media is one of the features of student responses to both theprint and video story. And as Salomon (1984) had earlier observed, it alsoemerged in this study that the way students ascribe meaning to the presentedstory appears, in part, to depend on students’ own perceptions of their efficacywith the medium. In both the responses given to the print and video stories,students occasionally granted that they were “not good at this type of thing”.In most of these cases students’ were not as articulate in abstracting the issuesexplored in the video and in extracting information presented in the storythat could be used in their arguments. It would appear that the perception ofone’s ability to extract information in a given medium as well, had aninfluence on the interpretation of the story.Of significant importance in students’ responses is the level at whichthey empathize with some information presented in the story. Responsesfrom students who watched the video story tended to be more empathic tothe treatment accorded to animals. This corresponds with Meringoff’s (1980)90finding that exposure to the television story was associated more with the useof visual information in recall and in making inferences. In this case itwould appear that the use of visual information evoked more studentempathy with the animals in the story. Students’ descriptions of the storyshowed that they were opposed to the suffering and to any implication ofpain and suffering that the animals used in research experience. Acommitment to one side of the issue tended to produce student responsesthat were sympathetic to the arguments of one side of the story. This featurewas exhibited among the responses to the print story as well, but studentswho watched the video story gave more of these kinds of responses andtended to view the story information as a non-issue. An interestingobservation also emerged in the seeming differences by gender in the framingof students’ responses. More females than males exhibited more empathicviews to the treatment of animals that are used in research.Coupled with the video responses that do not acknowledge thearguments of the opposing side is the observation that most of the responsesgiven to the video story were relatively less detailed than responses to theprint version. These kinds of responses showed an appreciable attempt toextract and use concrete information in the story, such as names of persons orplaces, but with little success. This could be because the presentational pace ofthe visual medium does not seem to favour the extraction of specificinformation from the story when compared to the print medium for whichKozma (1991) has made a case as being a stable rather than a transientmedium. The difficulty with using concrete information in studentarguments could also be that the emotional load exerted on the viewerduring the processing of information in the story draws the viewer to pay91more attention to the information that fits with his or her prior views on theissue.Responses from students who read the print story more oftenappropriately referred to and successfully used the specific information in thestory. However, these print responses tended to associate the points of viewexpressed by individuals to those individuals’ private views on the issuesrather than view such points of view as representative of the prevailingviews on the issue. It may also be of interest to note that females were moreapt at extracting and using specific information in the story in theirinterpretations of what the story is about compared to the males.Different print and video interpretations of the story also show in thelength of the responses. Student& responses to the video story tended to usesingle-sentence expressions that highlighted either the topic discussed in thestory or the general differences between the various points of view in thestory. The print story, on the other hand, frequently tended to produceresponses that were elaborate and more aware of the arguments and evidenceused by the different sides of the issue. It also happens that, on the average,such elaborate responses were mainly offered by female respondents.The style of framing the response when responding to the question“What is this story about?” is also important. Students who watched thevideo much more than those who read the print story tend to sequentiallyrecount the sequence of events in the story. Rather than be articulate of thedifferences in points of view in the story, responses to the video story tend toframe their responses as though the question asked was ‘What happened?”This feature of students’ responses tends is a video phenomenon, and tendsto be more frequent among responses given by male respondents. BeaglesRoos and Gat (1983), in comparing the impact of radio and television on92children’s story comprehension, reported a similar result, that children in thetelevision condition were better able to remember plot details and sequencepictures than their counterparts on the radio condition.ConclusionBeing aware of the basis for the arguments used by supporters of theopposing points of view is fundamental to appropriately responding to theissue in question. In framing a response to the question “What is the storyabout?” it is essential that a representation be made not only of the points ofview on the issue one may be in favour of, but more important, of thearguments and evidence advanced by the opposing side of the issue.As would be expected, students framed the issues explored in the printand video story in quite different ways. Students who watched the videotended not to extract much information presented in the story compared tothe print story. A one-shot presentation, such as is experienced in thewatching of the video story, appears to only create an awareness of theexistence of an issue but not encourage the abstraction of the central issues orthe use of the presented information in the students’ subsequent arguments.Responses from students who watched the video tend to be superficial, moreempathic to animals, short on detail and are sometimes framed more or lessto describe a sequence of events rather than to respond to what the story isabout.Correspondingly, responses given by female students tend to berelatively detailed but are more empathic to the treatment of animals,whereas males tend to give brief, less confident and less complex responses.932. The Different Points of View in the storyUnravelling an issue involves more than defining the questions undercontroversy. We also need to clarify arguments that various parties bring tothe questions. This would require that we identify clearly what was said bythe participants in the debate. Furthermore, we would want to knowwhether adequate justifications were provided for their claims. Thesejustifications would include appropriate evidence or relevant reasons.Students in this study were asked to identify specific information fromthe story in order to help the researcher gain an understanding of thestudent’s ability to extract relevant information that they were to use in theirarguments. They were specifically asked to identify the different points ofview of what they said were the issues explored in the story. This secondquestion was asked regardless of how the student had initially interpreted thestory.A point of view on the issue, as earlier defined in this study, is astatement consisting of a position taken on the issue with the correspondingreason to justify that position. It was found that students who read the printstory were more apt to extract relevant information that was used to identifythe different positions on the issue than were those students who watchedthe video. These latter students instead, tended to give what is referred tohere as partially identified points of view, that is the kind of responses thatrecognize that different points of view are expressed on the issue, but whichinstead furnish supporting arguments for only one side of the issue. It isprobable that the initial commitment to support a particular point of viewtends to favour the extraction of only certain kinds of information from thestory that reinforces such a position.94Identifying concrete information such as the names of the persons, andmaking use of the vocabulary in the story also had an interesting variation bythe presentation formats of the story. It is quite clear in the responses givenafter exposure to the two media formats that it is difficult to accurately extractand consistently use concrete information in one’s representation of thearguments in the story. Sometimes, forming an association between thetalking-heads in the story and the different points of view on the issue overshadowed the generality of the points of view, and this led some students,particularly those who watched the video story, to relegate the points of viewexpressed in the story to those of only the persons in the story.The emphasis on the images and the propositions in the video andprint stories respectively, was also apparent. In identifying the differentpoints of view on the issue, students who read the print story frequentlyreferred to the statements made in the story as a basis for their arguments.From such statements students described the different justifications that areused by the different sides. Responses from students who watched the videorevealed descriptions that are closely linked to the images and scenesdescribed in the story, and attested to the use of statements in the audio partof the video presentation that closely matched certain episodic scenes. Forexample, students’ reference to the use of cats in the research done withanimals was pronounced in the video presentation, because in the story, catswere shown most. In contrast, the statement “they can’t speak forthemselves” also formed a centre of interest in most print responses.The dramatic use of images and scenes in the responses to the videoshowed an interesting gender-difference as well. More females than malesdrew on these as justifying referents for the sides opposed to the use of95animals in research. They also seem to empathize with the fact that becauseanimals carmot speak for themselves, someone ought to speak out for them.ConclusionIn drawing on the evidence for the different sides of an argument, it isnoticeable that our dispositions toward an issue can have an influence on thekinds of details we choose to use. A prior commitment to one side of theissue tends to lead to the use of information that is dramatic and that leadsone to sympathize with one point of view especially. Students then whowatched the video story have their scope of information on the issues limitedmore or 1 ss to the kinds of images and scenes in the story. On the contrary,students vho read the print story tend to generate more encompassinginterpret ions of the story from the language used in expressing thepropositic: IS in the story which is again in line with Meringoffs (1980) workon the in. .ience of the medium on children’s story apprehension. In otherwords, ti’: information in the print responses that justifies the differentpositions ‘n the issue generally uses language that is reflective of aninterpretation that draws of an array of sodal experiences.An interesting feature in students’ identification of the different pointsof view is that specific information extracted from the visual medium tendsto highlight dramatic properties of the story which may be in the form ofscenes and images; while the specific information extracted from the printstory of the same material highlights figurative language of the propositionsin the story.963. Students’ own Points of ViewExploring the features of responses when students were asked to givetheir own points of view on the issues discussed in the story was just asimportant. Giving their own points of view on the issues offers students achance to evaluate the assumptions behind the justifications of the differentsides, and to critically examine the credibility of these justifications.There is little noticeable difference in the distribution of the variouspoints of view on the issue by the presentation formats of the original story.Compared with the points of view given by students who watched the video,however, responses from students who read the print story frequently tendedto acknowledge that the dispute over the use of animals in research was aconflict between the need to carry out research to improve the human qualityof life and the need to save animals because they too have lives. In addition,the points of view from students who read the print story, much more thanthose from students who watched the video story, were conditional. Theysaw both points of view in the story as valid and they mainly tended to givetheir points of view to acknowledge that the arguments of both sides arebelievable and plausible.On the other hand, students who watched the video tended to giveresponses that were reflective of the feeling that humans were exploitinganimals, because they (animals) could not speak for themselves. Studentswho watched the video expressed points of view that were either supportiveor not supportive of the use of animals and tended to use arguments thatwere more or less critical of those used by the the other sides. Consequently,responses given to the video story were more emotionally-charged thanresponses given to the print story.97It would appear that when new ideas are inconsistent with students’understandings, they seem to distract students from formulating a point ofview on the issue. It was apparent from their waffling that students who readthe print story did not adopt new ideas or change their existing ones radicallyin the period of the interview. Rather, students presented with a story ineither media format tended to situate their understandings andinterpretations of the story in some familiar background experiences anddraw on their personal and social experiences to support their positions onthe issue.ConclusionStudents bring into play a variety of experiences to interpret the issuesdiscussed in the story. Some of these experiences relate directly to thoserelevant to the issue of the use of animals in research. Although there are noreasonable differences in the way students articulated their own points ofview, it is worth noting that the print responses tend to focus primarily onthe social or everyday experiences, whereas the visual medium tends tofavour the evocation of episodic, personal experiences which favourempathic and emotionally-charged points of view. It is clear that when areader or viewer encounters a story in, say, print or video formats, the readeror viewer seems to respond to the story he or she evokes during thetransaction with the print or video story. This response is the meaning that ismade by the reader, and it is this response that becomes shaped into what thereader sees as the story line.In giving their points of view on the issue, responses from studentswho watched the video story tend to be explicit, and often even absolute, intheir views on the issue and seem to focus on the information in the story98that favours their positions. It would appear, therefore, that the points ofview expressed after watching a video story of the issue are based on littleinformation. On the contrary, points of view from students who read theprint story acknowledge the conflict and give points of view in a way thatreflects the complexity of the issue.4. The Consistency of Students’ Points of ViewThe final question sought to determine the consistency of students’ideas in a new and personally-oriented situation. This was to give studentsan opportunity to make a commitment to what they truly believe at apersonal level and to defend that choice in the light of the point of view onthe issues. The student then attempts to reconcile any discrepancies that mayexist between the points of view given at the personal and general levels. Tointegrate such new ideas students may have to modify the organization oftheir ideas in a radical way, which amounts to undertaking a kind of newrevolution in their thinking. This requires students to accumulate newinformation and ideas as a basis for reorganizing their conceptions of theissue.The presentation format of the original story does not have anynoticeable influence on the discussion of this second, personally-orientedstory. What is significant in the student discussion of the issue that ensues inthe second story is that students do gain insights into an issue as they makeand defend their own choices, and do reflect on the consequences of theiractions as well. Students rigorously attempt to establish the consequences forholding and standing-by their earlier points of view. In both the print andvideo responses, students actively evaluated the options in the second storyusing information that was clearly not presented in the print or video story.99The inferences students drew on the consequences for making certain choiceswere elaborate and definitely deeply grounded in their own daily experiences.There was, however, a noticeable trend in the way students tended tofollow through with their points of view. Students who had earlieremphasized the use of any sorts of alternatives to the use of animals, that isstudents who had given points of view with conditions, often tended tomodify their views in such a way as to use animals in research. Where therewere noticeable discrepancies in students’ earlier views and views in thesecond story, students who had earlier rejected the use of animals soughtcompromise positions that accommodated the discrepancies. The nonconsistent responses were present among both the print and video responses.On the whole, students’ points of view on the original story remainfairly consistent when presented with a second, related story that attempted tomake the issue more personally relevant to them. The points of view on thesecond, related story are personally-oriented, and do not seem to be affected bythe presentation format of the original story. Females, more than males,seemed to show more consistency in the way they thought about this issueboth at a personal and societal context, continuing to support views that areconsistent with the caring and protection of animals. Males mainly appear tosupport views that are utilitarian.ConclusionThe findings of this study seem to reinforce Salomon’s (1984)proposition that the symbolic carriers of information mainly affect the earlyphases of decoding but not the subsequent phases of mental elaboration of thealready IrecodedH and mentally represented material. The latter phases seemto draw on such operations as inference generation which are rooted in one’s100belief system and seem to be independent of the format of presenting theoriginal story.IMPLICATIONSThe discussion of socioscientific issues commonly appearing in themedia has implications for science teaching and curriculum that is intent onpromoting students’ critical thinking on and response to these kinds ofissues.When eliciting students’ understanding of information presented inthe media, teachers ought to be aware of some of the influences that thepresentation format can exert on students’ initial interpretation of asocioscientific issue. Teachers have to question students’ use of the languagethey adopt from the presented story as well as the assumptions they makeconcerning what they see and hear.It is quite apparent that students have a tendency to interpret newsituations in terms of what they already know, thus reinforcing their priorconceptions. But interestingly, it appears that the context within which theissue is discussed is greatly altered in some presentation formats more than inothers. For this reason students’ ability to discern whether there is acontroversy and to describe the nature of such controversy greatly varies fromstudent to student and by the presentation format. It is helpful for educatorsto be aware that responses from students exposed to various presentationformats differ, for example, in the amount of detail students actually use intheir arguments. Those students exposed to the visual medium, inparticular, tend to give responses that are short on detail and high in the levelof emotional involvement.101Students have difficulty abstracting and framing the issues in themedia. This could be because they have not succeeded in translating thestructures comprehended in one medium into their general knowledge of theworld. Teachers should encourage students to tell, or explain and talk aboutwhat they have viewed, read, or heard in order to help them ‘map’ thatviewing or reading into their own terms.With this effect, the way the visual medium shapes its content, the wayit sets the agenda for public discussion, the way it presents reality, all relatedirectly to the student’s personal experience with information presentedparticularly on television. Some of the studies (e.g. Rowe, Goodman, Moore,& McLarty, 1990, cited in Neuman, 1992) have found that in situationsinvolving discussion, the visual content in videodisc format allowed teachersto access children’s ideas for discussion more rapidly than through print,particularly for low-achieving students with little knowledge or interest inthe domain. This experience led to the development of correspondingwritten stories containing more indepth descriptions of the story elements. Itwould also suggest that it may be more efficient at times to use a combinedmultimedia approach in order for the different media formats to complementeach other. The goal should be to get students to understand that the visualmedium, like other media, is a medium of communication, and that whatand how it communicates is open to discussion.There is no doubt that the media will play a significant role in ourfuture as information becomes more completely industrialized. Some claimthat the media will change society profoundly (Postman, 1983), others seetheir effects as extensions, but significant extensions to already establishedindustrial patterns which are, as well, worthy of considerable study.Therefore, to ignore the complexities found in the influence of the media102upon many political, social and socioscientific issues, and to avoid the hardtask of teaching critical skills, is to leave the student with simplistic responsesin a complex world. A policy to ensure or make compulsory a study of themedia and, in particular television, is a necessary step to counteract theinertia to the development of specific curricula in this area.SUGGESTIONS FOR FURTHER RESEARCHThere is an increasing realization that contemporary information onsocioscientific issues reaches us through the mass media, particularly throughtelevision. There is need to further investigate students’ understandings ofthese kinds of disputes whenever they are encountered and to examine howstudents evaluate the corresponding justifications of the positions taken onthem.The following are ideas for further exploration with students andsimilar socioscientific issues that could be compared with the present study inorder to explore the influence of the presentation formats on students’responses to these issues.1. Across Socioscientific IssuesIt is clear that students’ understandings of and reasoning throughissues not only varies greatly across different contexts, it also varies acrossissues. With the print and video presentation formats, it would beinteresting to investigate the features of students’ responses across otherrelated socioscientific issues.1032. The Story MaterialsOne of the constraints encountered in this study is the scarcity ofresearch materials. The socioscientific issue used in this study could bepresented to the students in other ways, and the responses given similarlyanalyzed for characteristic features. Students could, for example, be presentedwith the issues in the audio, or combination of media formats, in order toelicit their understandings.3. The Response FormatsOther than the interviewing method used in this study to probestudent understandings, many procedures could be employed to investigatestudents’ understanding of information presented in these media formats.The written response modes have been used elsewhere (see Gaskell, Fleming,Fountain, & Ojelel, in press) to elicit student understandings of this andsimilar issues presented in print and video media formats. Students could beasked to respond to this issue in other equally expressive ways, such asgraphical representations.4. The StudentsOnly the responses from grade 10 students are utilized in this study.Since interacting with animals is a much more common phenomenonparticularly in children, it would be interesting to explore the features ofstudents’ responses from other grade levels, especially those in lower grades,compare with the ones in this study.1045. Prior Exposure to the IssueAn extensive prior understanding of the issue is central in theselection and organization of information to be processed. It would also beinteresting to examine how students respond to these issues presented inthese media formats immediately after a unit on the discussion of thesocioscientific issue.•6. Research ApproachStudents have previously encountered and do demonstrate anappreciable understanding of controversial science-related content whenasked. Within the research tradition that focuses on the learner, it iscommon for researchers to ask students to verbalize their predictions aboutthe phenomena under investigation. Students’ prior understandings couldbe elicited by presenting the students with the issue and asking them toverbalize their predictions before finally exposing them to the print and videoformats of the issues and exploring their specific understanding of the issue.105BIBLIOGRAPHYBaggett, P. & Ehrenfeucht, A. (1982). Information in content equivalentmovie and text stories. Discourse Processes, 5: 73-99 -Bateson, D., Erickson, G., Gaskell, P.1. & Wideen, M. (in press). B.C. scienceassessment: A Summary report. Victoria: Ministry of Education,Assessment, Examinations and Reporting Branch.Beagles-Roos, J. & Gat, I. (1983). Specific impact of radio and television onchildren’s story comprehension. Journal of Educational Psychology, 75:128-135.Bower, G.H., Black, J. B. & Turner, T.J. (1979). Scripts in memory for text.Cognitive Psychology, 11: 177-220.Cohen, A.A. & Salomon, G. (1979). Children’s literate television viewing:surprises and possible explanations. Journal of Communication, 9(3):156-163.Collins, W.A. (1982). Cognitive processing in television viewing. In Pearl, D.,Bouthilet, L., & Lazar, J. (Eds.). Television and behavior: Ten. years ofscientific progress and implications for the eighties, vol. 2: TechnicalReviews. Washington, D.C.: US Department of Health and HumanServices.Dommermuth, W.P. (1974). How does the medium affect the message?Journalism Quarterly, 51: 441-447.Findahi, 0. & Höijer, B. (1985). Some characteristics of news memory andcomprehension. Journal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media, 29(4):379-396.Gaskell, P.1. (1982). Science, technology and sodety: Issues for science teachers.Studies in Science Education, 9: 33-46.106Gaskell, P.J., Fleming, R., Fountain, R. & Ojelel, A. (in press). Thesocioscientific issues component. In D. Bateson, G. Erickson, P.J.Gaskell, & M. Widen (Eds.) B.C. science assessment: A Summaryreport. Victoria: Ministry of Education, Assessment, Examinations andReporting Branch.Greenfield, P. & Beagles-Roos, J. (1988). Radio and television: Their cognitiveimpact on children of different socioeconomic and ethnic groups.Journal of Communication, 38(2): 71-92.Greenfield, P.M. (1984). Mind and media: The effects of television, videogames, and computers. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Hoffner, C., Cantor, J. & Thorson, E. (1988). Children’s understanding oftelevised narrative: developmental differences in processing video andaudio content. Communication Research, 15(3): 227-245.Höijer, B. (1989). Television-evoked thoughts and their relation tocomprehension. Communication Research, 16(2): 179-203.Huston, A.C. et. al (1981). Communicating more than content: The formalfeatures of children’s television. Journal of Communication, 31(3): 32-48.Huston-Stein, A. & Wright, J.C. (1977). Modeling the medium: Effects offormal properties of children’s television programs. ChildDevelopment, 48: 1152-61.Kozma, R.B. (1991). Learning with media. Review of Education Research,61(2): 179-211.Krendl, K.A., & Watkins, B. (1983). Understanding television: An exploratoryinquiry into the reconstruction of narrative content. EducationalCommunication and Technology, 31(4): 201-212.Levy, M.R. & Windahi, S., (1984). Audience activity and gratifications: Aconceptual clarification and exploration. Communication Research, 11:51-78.107Luke, C. (1987). Television discourse and schema theory: Toward a cognitivemodel of information processing. In Michael E. Manley-Casimir andCarmen Luke (Eds.). Children and television: A challenge foreducation. Praeger Publishers, New York.Mander, J.M. (1978). Four arguments for the elimination of television. NewYork: Morrow.McLuhan, M. (1965). Understanding media: The extension of man. NewYork: McGraw-Hill.McMillan, J.H. & Schmacher, S. (1989). Research in education: A conceptualintroduction—second edition. Blenview Illinois: Scott, Foresman andCompany.Meringoff, L.K. (1980). Influence of the medium on children’s storyapprehension. Journal of Educational Psychology, 72: 240-249.Neuman, S.B. (1992). Is learing from media distinctive? Examiningchildren’s inferencing strategies. American Educational ResearchJournal, 29(1): 119-140.Noble, G. (1983). Social learning from everyday television. In M.J. Howe(Ed.), Learning from television. London: Academic Press.Olson, D.R. & Bruner, J.S. (1974). Learning through experience and learningthrough media. In D.R. Olson (Ed.) Media and symbols: The forms ofexpression, communication and education. 73rd Yearbook of theNational Society for the Study of Education. Chicago: University ofChicago Press.Olson, D.R. (1982). The consequences of television. Interchange, 12(1): 53-60Pearl, D., Bouthilet, L., & Lazar, J. (Eds.). Television and behavior: Ten years ofscientific progress and implications for the eighties, vol. 2: TechnicalReviews. Washington, D.C.: US Department of Health and HumanServices.108Pezdek, K., Lehrer, A. & Simon, S. (1984). The relationship between readingand cognitive processing of television and radio. Child Development,55: 2072-2082.Postman, N. (1983). Engaging students in the great conversation. Phi DeltaKappan, 64(5): 310-316.Reeves, B. & Thorson, B. (1986). Watching television: Experiments on theviewing process. Communication Research, 13: 343-361.Reynolds, R.E. & Anderson, R.C. (1982). Influence of questions on theallocation of attention during reading. Journal of EducationalPsychology, 74(4): 623-632.Rice, M. & Wartella, E. (1981). Television as a medium of communication:Implications for how to regard the child viewer. Journal ofBroadcasting, 25(4): 365-372.Salomon, G. (1979a). Interaction of media, cognition, and learning. SanFrancisco: Jossey-Bass.Salomon, G. (1979b). Shape, not content: How media symbols partake in thedevelopment of abilities. In E. Wartella (Ed.), Childrencommunicating: Media and development of thought, speech,understanding. Beverly Hills: Sage Publications.Salomon, G. (1981). Communication and education: Social and psychologicalinteractions. Beverly Hills: Sage Publications.Salomon, G. (1984). Television is “easy” and print is “tough’; The differentialinvestment of mental effort in learning as a function of perceptionsand attributions. Journal of Educational Psychology, 74(4): 647-658Science Council of Canada (1984). Science for every student: EducatingCanadians for tomorrows world. Ottawa: Ministry of Supply andServices.109Singer, J.L. (1980). The powers and limitations of television. In PH.Tennenbaum (Ed.), The entertainment functions of television.Hilisdale, NJ: Eribaum.Solomon, J. (1990). The discussion of social issues in the science classroom.Studies in Science Education, 18: 105-126.Stauffer, J., Frost, R. & Rybolt, W. (1981). Recall and learning from broadcastnews: Is print better? Journal of Broadcasting, 25(3): 253-262.Weaver, P. (1982). TV news and newspaper news. In R.P. Adler (Ed.),Understanding television: Essays on TV as a social and cultural force.New York: Praeger Publishers.Wessel, M.R. (1980). Science and conscience. New York: ColumbiaUniversity Press.Woodall, W.G., Davis, D.K. & Sahin, H. (1983). From the boob-tube to theblack box: Television news comprehension from an informationprocessing perspective. Journal of Broadcasting, 27(1): 1-23.110litS3DIQNcTJVAPPENDIX A:SOUNDTRACK OF THE VIDEO ON THE USE OF ANIMALSNarrator Peter Hamilton is the President of Life Force, a Vancouver-basedecology group he formed in 1980. Hamilton dedicated his life tothe cause after a visit to the lab conducting vivisection formedical research.Hamilton And some of those animals were lying in pools of blood, slowlydying, as a result of experimental surgery. And other animalshad gone what the researchers referred to as cage crazy. Theywere going around-and-around in circles, self-mutilating.Narrator But on the other hand of the laboratory doors, the researchersreplied that you just can’t label all animal experimentation ascruel or unnecessary.Dr. McNeil Without that information, we would be unable to even thinkabout developing drugs, procedures and what not, to carry on inhumans. So the breakthroughs in genetic engineering, and allthose kinds of things, have come about through work onanimals.Hamilton Some of the researchers probably do believe that it is necessarybut they themselves have television and they are set in theirways. And what the public is saying and the reason why we areurging change is because it hasn’t worked over the years.Narrator Supporters of biomedical research claim that advances throughanimal studies have added 25 years to the average life-spanthrough cure or control of diseases like polio and diabetes, are-. new surgical techniques to repair defects or transplant organs.112But to groups like Life Force, those claims are false. They suggestthat the research could have been done other ways withoutwasting innocent animals lives.Hamilton I think when we look at defenceless animals, people feel thatbecause they cannot speak for themselves we have to take specialcare in our treatment of those sentient beings.Narrator What is a sentient being? Define that for me.Hamilton An animal that is capable of psychological and physical suffering.Dr. Horsfall Because of the way we live, the things that we do in our world,keep generating new diseases, new problems, we haven’t solvedall the old one yet, we will kill ourselves off. We don’t eitherchange our ways or keep the animal research going.Lab Asst. So Dr. Horsfall this is our Mackenzie unit, as you can see...Narrator Bob Horsfall is The Chairman of the Ethics Committee at SimonFraser University that decides whether or not to OKAY researchprojects using animals.Horsfall The greatest misconception, I think, is that huge numbers ofanimals are suffering, and suffering needlessly of course. A lot ofwork that is done is a straight behavioral work, where the animalis probably living a happier life that it would as somebody’s pet,whether underfed or overfed.Lab Asst. We have those rabbits that are...Horsfall As you know we have an open-door policy here, anybody iswelcome, pretty much any time. People by and large don’t care.Animal researchers are out of mind, out of sight, for most peoplemost of the time. And it should be a public decision.113Narrator The Animal Care Centre at SFU is regarded as one of the best inCanada—dean, orderly, and centralized. Any animal research atSFU must be done here under strict controls. SFU’s Animal CareCentre also breeds cats. These kittens are born to die. But fewercats are needed in most experiments than in the past because ofquality control.Horsfall And most of what we see now is either just behavioralobservational stuff or what you call acute work, where the animalis put to sleep, surgery is done, and it never wakes up; it gets aterminal overdose after the research is done. But there is a veryvery strong mandate from the Canadian Council on Animal Carethat no, the mandate is no unnecessary suffering and we interpretthat really essentially as no suffering of any sort.Narrator Both sides agree on development of more research using tissuesamples and computer models as alternatives to vivisection. Thedisagreement returns just how much these methods can replace.Hamilton What we have learnt and what they have accumulated over theyears is how different an animal is from that of the humansystem. And they can no longer support a moral or ethicalgrounds for the continuance of the use of animal models.Horsfall I do see a time when animal experimentation will only appearsort of as the last stage of the research procedure. We can’t replacethe animal totally. Either an animal with fur or an animal likeyou and me is the final test.Narrator is Tony Glencoff, CBC Reporter.114APPENDIX B:THE PRINT STORYVancouver (CM). Peter Hamiltonhadn’t thought much about the useof animals in scientific experimentsuntil he visited a site that did justthat. “I was shocked,” he said, “tosee animals dying in their ownblood after experimental surgery.”This experience led him to form LifeForce, an organization for theprotection of animal rights.After considerable study, Mr.Hamilton became convinced thatthe claims by scientists about theanimals in research areHe argues that animalsbeings, that is, they aremental and physical“They can’t speak forhe says, “therefore, wespecial care in ourtreatment of them.”Dr. John McNeil, Dean of Pharmacyat UBC, has a different view aboutthe use of animals in research. Heargues, “Without animal research,many human lives would havebeen lost. We couldn’t even thinkabout developing new drugs andprocedures for use on humanswithout first trying them onanimals. New drugs for diseasessuch as polio and diabetes and newprocedures such as transplants haveadded 25 years to the average lifespan. Breakthroughs in geneticengineering have come aboutthrough research on animals.”Dr. Bob Horsfall, a spokesperson forthe research ethics committee atSFU argues that there are manymyths about research using animals:“Most research on animals involveswatching their behavior and doesnot involve hurting them.” TheSRi lab follows the strict guidelinesof the Canadian Council on AnimalCare, which require that there be nounnecessary suffering. “In practice,he says, “this means no suffering. Ifsurgery is done, an anaesthetic isgiven so that there is no pain. If thesurgery would result in a permanentinjury, then an overdose of drugs isalso given so that the animal neverwakes up.”Both sides agree that in the futuremore and more work will be donewith tissue samples and computermodels. They disagree on howmuch these methods can replacework using animals. Hamilton,from the animal rights group, feelsthat animals are so different fromhumans that it is unethical to usethem. Horsfall, from the universityethics committee, feels that animalswill always have to be used in thelast stages. “In the end,” he says,“some research will always requirethe use of animals — either animalswith fur or animals like you and me— humans.”need to usenot correct.are sentientcapable ofsuffering.themselves,”must take115APPENDIX C:THE INTERVIEW PROTOCOLHi, I’m <interviewer name>. <Student name>, students in your class, and afew others in British Columbia, have been asked to help us get the views ofstudents on certain topics. We hope the results will help us improve yourcourses.I’m going to show you a <video/story>. Afterwards, I’m going to askyou a few questions. This isn’t a test and your answers won’t be marked rightor wrong. We are interested in your ideas about the issues. All your answersare completely confidential. No one else in the school will know what yousay and we won’t use your real name when we talk about the kinds ofanswers students give us.I would like, though, to tape our conservation. You don’t have to takepart in this if you don’t want to, and you don’t have to answer any questionyou are not comfortable with. Nothing will be held against you if you wouldrather not do this. However, we are really interested in what you have to tellus. Is there anything you’d like to ask me? Can we start?VIDEO / STORY[For the story: “This is not a reading test; take as much time as youwant to read through it.”]1. OK, <student name>, could you please tell me what you think thisstory is about?2. Are there different ways in which people think about the issue in thestory?116Can you please describe them for me.3. What is your point of view on the issue discussed in the story? (Canyou tell me more about that?)4. Are there any particular experiences you have had that mightinfluence the way you think about this issue?5. Have you studied anything about this issue at any grade level inschool? (If yes, what subject area was the topic in?) (If no, what do youthink would be the closest thing to it?)6. Have you ever done, or seen a demonstration of; a dissection? Do youthink the arguments used in the story also apply to doing dissection atschool? In what way?7. Have any of your teachers ever discussed this topic or something likeit?8. Have you seen anything about this on TV? in a movie? read storiesabout it (magazines, newspapers, fiction)?9. A team of scientists at Metropolitan hospital had an idea about a newtechnique for removing tumors deep in the human brain. However,members of the team disagreed about whether to use animals to testthe idea. Some scientists tested the technique using a computer-simulated model of the human brain. Other scientists tested thetechnique on monkeys that had been given injections so that they grewtumors in their brains.Which group of people would you want to operate on you if youneeded a brain tumor removed?That’s all.Thanks very much for helping us out.117APPENDIX D:SAMPLE INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPTSFROM THE PRINT STORYInterviewer: Could you tell me what you think that story was all about?Student: Urn about uh one side arguing with another urn, like one sidefeeling that it’s cruel to have animals put through urn tests andexperiments and stuff and another side urn saying that uh it’s fair causethey use anaesthetics and urn it helps save human lives and stuff like that.I. Could you break up those points of view again for me?S. Okay. Urn, one the one point of view urn is saying that uh it’s cruel tohave animals used in experiments and urn different tests and stuff, urntesting, like testing different medicines, urn and different uh types ofoperations and stuff, urn instead of using it on a human, urn, they say thatthat’s cruel and stuff and that they have, they can be rnentally andphysically damaged but urn they can’t talk so we have to stand up forthern or something like that, and urn, one point of view which is lead bysome guy at UBC, I think it is, saying urn that it’s fair, they useanaesthetics and if there’s gonna be a major injury then they urn, they justgive them an overdose of drugs so that they never wake up and stuff likethat, and saying things like urn they need, they have to have some kind ofanimal to test it on, urn so that they don’t harm humans, something likethat.I. Now, what do you think about this issue? What is your point of viewabout the use of animals in research?S. Well urn, I don’t know, I guess it depends, like if, like there are some timeswhen it’s really cruel, like they’ll put them through like pain tests andstuff, urn, that’s cruel. But if it’s, if it’s just like a medicine, like say ananimal’s got, I don’t know if an animal can get diabetes or whatever, or ifit’s got arthritis or something, urn, and they’ve developed some sort ofnew medicine or something that they don’t really wanna use on animalsright away, urn, I guess it would be fair if it wouldn’t cause any pain to theanimal to give it to it, the animal and see if it survived and stuff like that,118urn something to benefit the animal would be fair, but something just todestroy it, to see how it reacts, I don’t think would be very fair.I. So have you had particular experiences that make you think that way?S. Urn not experience, well not like science.I. Yeah just any, any experience that...S. Like about animals being hurt and stuff?I. Yeah whether you have seen or heard about.S. Yeah well I guess I was sort of involved, well not really involved, but wehad some poachers in the area and they were urn, like we don’t have verymany elk in the area, and they were just ruthlessly killing all the ones thatthey could find, the little calves and the mothers and all that stuff and itwas in the newspapers and stuff, and urn I sort of got to know theconservation officer who was in charge of that and uh a man and I wentup there and we sort of checked, you know we sort of looked around thearea and urn I took the skull home cause I collect skulls, but urn, yeah Iguess I was pretty mad at this, at these guys cause they were just doing itfor fun. They were just going up and shooting these guys just for targetpractice and stuff and so I got kinda really ticked off cause you went upthere and you see all these animals lying there, it’s, they’re sick, so I guessmy uh, my views are kinda biased, I guess, I don’t know.I. So you feel a similar thing could be happening in the laboratories.S. Well I don’t think that they would be that cruel and urn painful cause theelk were shot, gut shot, like in the stomach so they would die slowly, urn, Idon’t think they would do anything like that. They would useanaesthetics and stuff, and it would be for some good probably. The elkwere just killed for no reason, just for fun which was stupid. So I guessthere’s a difference there, quite a difference.I. Uh huh. Have you ever talked about the use of animals in class at anygrade level?S. Urn, no, not like in uses in experiments and stuff, but just like, I don’tknow, last year in Socials we talked about uses of animals in the IndusthalRevolution and stuff, how they used them to urn you know, move thewindmills and stuff and all that stuff, but nothing like experiments oranything like that, no.I. So that would mean that you are in Grade 11?119S. No I’m in Grade 10.I. Socials was Grade 9.S. Yeah Grade 9. We just talked urn about very very briefly about how theyused animals in the Industrial Revolution and the agricultural revolutionto urn plough and move the grain wheels and all that stuff, but that wasabout it yeah.I. Uh huh. Now, have you ever done a dissection at school or have you seena demonstration of a dissection?S. Yeah we’ve urn, I. don’t think, I think the only year was Grade 8, wedissected urn a sheep’s eyeball and urn we did some little experiments, likeurn drugging those little daphne, those little water organism things, thatwas about it, urn, there were only about one or two dissections I think wedid, nothing major.I. Uh huh. Do you see the arguments in that story about the use of animalsin research as applying to dissection?S. Well it depends on how the animal died. Urn and if it’s gonna benefitanyone, like urn, if the animal just died naturally I suppose it’s okay but ifthey’re just raising, for instance sheep, just to kill them, urn so that somekid in Grade 8 could learn what the inside of an eyeball looks like, whichcan’t really benefit him in life, I guess it’s not really fair if we’re justkilling them for that purpose.I. What about if they are raised so that they could be used in research?S. Urn I guess, well it sort of depends on how they, how they use them afterthey did, like, well like if they just kill the whole animal for two eyeballs, Iguess that’s not really too fair, but if they urn they use all of it, like forinstance maybe the urn, the urn, the anatomy of it for you know, scienceresearch and stuff and urn if they use every part of the body for something,then it wouldn’t be too much of a waste and it, and if it didn’t diepainfully, if they’re just gonna raise them just to kill them for twoeyeballs, that’s, I wouldn’t think that would be very fair, no.I. Uh huh. Have you ever seen something like this on TV or the movies,magazines...?S. What, science experiments?.1. No, the use of animals in experiments.120S. Yeah, urn, yes it’s on usually urn, usually when you do see it though it’suh, it’s always like urn, it uh portrays them urn sort of exaggerated, likethe pain, like I’ve seen urn, like just a movie last weekend about urn, itwasn’t an animal actually, it was an alien, but they, things like takinganimals and uh you know, stabbing them and urn putting needles inthem and stuff, trying to test them for pain and stuff, I don’t know whatyou call them, pain tests I guess to see how they respond, but urn, yeah it’s,you see lots of things like that in the movies and stuff. Usually you have ahero who goes and releases all the animals in the lab or something likethat.I. If you saw them testing on animals in the lab or somehow some guy comesand rescues them....S. Well I think that’s kind of maybe a little far-fetched cause you know howthe movies are. I don’t think that they would urn put them throughreally painful tests and all that stuff, urn and I don’t think anyone wouldgo and free them all like that, but urn, I don’t know, I don’t think that theywould actually cause it’s probably just exaggerated in the movie, urn, theyprobably exaggerated how they actually experiment with animals. I’msure it’s really not all that painful, but it’s urn, it’s the fact that the animalsdie I guess, if that makes any sense.I. Have you ever talked to anyone about this?S. Urn, not really, not in experiments, using animals in experiments. I’vetalked to my morn about those elk getting shot but that was about it.I. Did she agree with what you said, did your mom agree?S. Oh yeah she was uh, she agreed with me on what I thought about. Welleveryone did because urn it was just disgusting how they’d go out and killthem for no reason. But that’s just about the closest I ever got to talkingabout using animals in experiments and stuff.I. Uh huh. What about controversial issues, things which kind of have twoways of looking at? Do you sometimes bring that up?S. Urn no, not really.I. Let me read to you a little story here. A team of scientists in MetropolitanHospital had an idea about a technique for removing tumors deep in thehuman brain. Now they disagreed on how to go about testing this idea. Agroup of them decided to test it on a computer-simulated model of thehuman brain. The other ones tested it on monkeys that had been given121injections so that they grew tumors in their brains. You need a tumor inyour brain removed and you have to choose between these two groups ofscientists. Who would you go for?S. Well I’d have to look into more information because for one thing, thecomputer program you know, a computer program can’t become a humanbrain, so it could be wrong urn and it’s no where close to a human brain sohow do you give a computer medicine anyway? But anyway urn, seethat’s the problem. I guess that urn a computer does not really simulatean actual brain so I wouldn’t really trust it too well but I would, like usingthe animal like give it injections so that it has a tumor, urn I guess it’scruel, so urn I wouldn’t really know who to go for. I’d have to like lookinto further information because urn there’s both faults in each.I. But then there are two different levels of faults here. One is having aproblem with the process and the other one is with the product.S. Yeah. Urn... I don’t know what to say.I. Now, if you had to check out would you be looking to verify the productbecause you want the treatment or would you be looking the verify theprocess because you want some consistency in that.S. Most likely the product but if the process is really urn dangerous, urn Iguess you’d be looking at both but most likely the product. If the monkeycame to no pain, like it had no pain and it survived and all that, I guess itwouldn’t be cruel, but the fact that you’re putting it’s life on the lineprobably would be, even though your life is on the line, so I guess it’s, it’skinda hard to say cause there’s two sides that are both urn....I. Would you say reel my bed out of the ICU? I mean if you are just on theverge of taking this operation.S. Oh I’d probably go for the computer program I guess because it’s, it’s gotmore of a chance cause urn, I don’t know. Well I just hope I don’t get abrain tumor.I. No well, really no, of course nobody would wish for that.S. Yeah it’s kind of a hard question. Urn... I don’t know what to say.I. Well you have an option though. You can tell them roll my bed out ofhere and not take an operation at all.S. Well I guess I’d have to take the operation if my life was on the line buturn do you wanna know what method I would choose?122I. Yeah.S. I’d probably choose the urn, well if the monkeys survived, well if themonkey didn’t survive I wouldn’t choose any operation, but urn, I guessI’d probably go for the monkey if no pain, if it didn’t, if no harm came to itor anything like that cause I’d, I mean I could, I’d, I’d be able to trustsomething that’s living more than, better than a computer program. So Iguess I’d just go for the monkey.I. Okay. Thank you very much.123A STUDENT’S RESPONSE TO THE VIDEO STORYInterviewer: Could you tell me what you think that story was all about?Student: I think it was something about the people against using animals forexperiments, medical experiments and then, I think it was mostly his, theview of one person and then well they interviewed the views of severalother people who for animal, the use of animals for medical experiments.I. Do you think then there were different ways in which people werethinking about this issue in the video?S. Urn the two people for it or the one person against it?I. So, well that would mean that there are those who are for it and those whoare against it.S. I think the two people who are for it were saying about the same thing, andone person against it, he was bringing up several issues against it, not justone reason why he was against it. He had several reasons why he wasagainst it.I. So what were the things that they were saying?S. Urn the person for it, the people for it were saying that it was the only waythat, if they didn’t use animals for the experimentations, then they wouldhave to use humans but that’s not very possible because not very manypeople would donate themselves for the experiment, while the personagainst it was saying that it isn’t fair to the animals because they have nosay in the matter and just because like they can’t talk, it doesn’t give usany reason to use them and that the animals also have feelings, they’renot just blocks of stone. He also says that some of them are alsomistreated, that they are hurt unnecessarily and that they are put in smallcages and it’s very tortuous of them.I. What’s your point of view? You touched on it before, would you stateagain your point of view on the use of animals in research?S. I think, I know it’s necessary, but I’m against it because I think animalshave lives too so I don’t think they should be just taken lightly. I thinkwhat they’re doing at SFU is better because they’re taking care of them andit’s very clean and everything, but I’ve seen, I’ve seen places where it’s,they’re just torturing the animals. I think that’s wrong.I. Describe some of those places for me.124S. I don’t know where they are but I’ve seen pictures of, from like the SPCAor PAWS, it’s urn, like they’ve got, they’ve just got the animal lying thereand then it’s going through needless pain like they’ve got knives stickingout oi them and they’ve got sores and then it’s not even urn, doesn’t evenhave anesthetic, so I think that’s really cruel to them.I. Hm. Have you ever seen any other things that perhaps make you havethat point of view?S. Mm, I’ve seen some interviews but I’m not sure I could trust thembecause it was just, it was one-sided so they didn’t really give a defense forthemselves. It was just reporters going in there and taking pictures so thepeople in that medical lab really didn’t get a chance to say anything, so itwas pretty biased, so I can’t make a decision.I. Was it from TV?S. Yeah it was from TV, it was from a news, a news urn caption on TV.I. Did you see anything else, maybe in the movies or newspapers?S. Yeah I’ve seen it in the movies but I don’t think it’s very realistic.I. What do you remember seeing in the movie?S. Urn it was the movie I think “Project X” with Matthew Broderick andmonkeys and they were using them for urn nuclear research and theywere seeing how much radiation they could take before dying, so, I don’tknow, they might do that but, I didn’t know if the movie was very realisticor not, so I couldn’t really judge from the movie.I. What was your reaction?S. I thought, I think things like that do go on with the government withoutus knowing because if we knew about it there would be a large publicoutcry so I thought it was like really cruel of the government to do that,but urn, I couldn’t really make a judgement against the governmentcompletely either because it was just one person’s point of view again, sothe government really didn’t have a chance to defend themselves.I. Now, have you ever talked to anyone about the use of animals in research?S. No I’ve never talked to anybody like who’s a professional. I’ve just talkedto my friends about it, but no one else.125I. What did you say when you were talking to your friends?S. Well we were just talking about how, how cruel it was and how muchpain the animal was going through, so we thought that they reallyshouldn’t do that, and then... -I. Did you like explore the issue ----?S. No not really.I. Have you ever talked to your teacher about this, I mean about usinganimals in research?S. I don’t think the issue has really ever come up because what we do inScience, it doesn’t really involve any animal um, any animal uses. It’sjust for dissection, but that’s when the animal’s already dead, so it doesn’treally go through that.I. Have you ever done a dissection?S. Yes.I. Tell me more about that.S. Urn we’ve done urn a fish, I think it was perch or something and then wedid a cow’s eyeball and this year I think we’re gonna do a worm orsomething, and that’s about it.I. So that’s in Grade 10?S. Urn we did the cow’s eyeball in Grade 9 and the, no we did the cow’seyeball in Grade 8 I think and then the perch in Grade 9 and in Grade 10 Idon’t think we do any dissection.I. Now do you see the arguments used in the video as applying to dissection?S. Urn I do kind of because the animals used in dissection were also oncealive but I’m not sure, it’s, we didn’t, we’re not dissecting them whilethey’re alive and they’re not going through any pain, but they might havegone through pain when they were killed, like when the perch werekilled. I don’t know how they were killed, maybe chemicals in the wateror something, so, or the cow’s eyeball, I think it might just come from likeafter the slaughter of cows, just from the butcher’s or something.I. So do you think then it is good to use animals which are not alive?126S. Yeah I think so. I don’t think it’s very good just to, like they did, they bredanimals just for experimentation. The animals didn’t even have a life,they were just, all their lives they were just kept in a cage and they weren’tlet out and just, they were just, like they said, bred to die.I. Now, I want to read to you an illustration here that will explore some ofthe things we have raised. There is a team of scientists in MetropolitanHospital who had this idea about a technique for removing tumors deepin the brain. Now this team disagreed on how to actually do research onthis idea. One team said “We are going to use a computer-simulatedmodel of the brain, of the human brain to test this technique” and thenthe other group said “Well we are going to use monkeys that have beeninjected so that they grew tumors in their brain” so that they were going toremove tumors from those monkeys’ brains. You are presented withthese two teams of scientists who perhaps are going to remove a tumorfrom your brain. Now you are required to make a decision as to which ofthese two scientists you would like to operate on you. Which team do youthink you would go for?S. Well I think it’s, I don’t like the idea of them injecting a fluid into themonkey and have it grow a tumor in the brain because that wouldprobably be fairly painful. But on the other hand, if they just do it on acomputer, then it’s not very realistic and if you work on me they don’thave the dimensions and it’s not really three dimensional, they don’thave the experience.I. Let’s talk about “realistic” for a minute. How is it not realistic?S. It’s, you just can’t get in there. You can’t use your hands, you’re not usingyour hands to go in there, you’re actually using buttons on the computerto take it out. You’re not using the instruments, you’re not um juststanding there. It’s just a screen and you’re just watching it and pressingbuttons and then just going in there without your hands. So if I had abrain tumor in my head and I had to get it removed, I think I would wantthem to experiment on the monkey but I wouldn’t want them to injectsomething and make it grow a brain tumor. I’d rather them takesomething with a brain tumor already instead of making one there,something, someone that already has a brain tumor, maybe a person whohas died from a brain tumor and they just use the dead person with thebrain tumor in it, cause I don’t like the computer thing.I. But you just have these two groups. Now what do you do? You just havethese two groups who have done that, who have experimented onmonkeys that have been injected and you have to make a choice betweenthese two.127S. I think I would want the, I’d choose the computer one, the one thatexperimented on the computer.I. So what would be your reason for not choosing the ones whoexperimented on monkeys?S. If I said, when it comes to me, if I said that I wanted them to use the oneswith the monkeys then it would be, it would make me very hypocritical, Imean, because I’m sitting here and I don’t want them to use animals forexperiments but when it comes to my benefit and I say “Okay use theanimals” then it would be very unfair, so I think I’d, I would tell them getthe ones that use the computer to operate on me.I. Regardless of the consequences?S. Yeah I think so.I. So you would actually pick the ones that used the computer, not out of thefact that you want to recover, but just because you want to be consistentwith the way you are arguing?S. Yeah.I. Airight, thank you very much.128


Citation Scheme:


Citations by CSL (citeproc-js)

Usage Statistics



Customize your widget with the following options, then copy and paste the code below into the HTML of your page to embed this item in your website.
                            <div id="ubcOpenCollectionsWidgetDisplay">
                            <script id="ubcOpenCollectionsWidget"
                            async >
IIIF logo Our image viewer uses the IIIF 2.0 standard. To load this item in other compatible viewers, use this url:


Related Items