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2018 Abstracts

Public Understanding, Opinions, and Questions about Hot Topics in Science

Alexandria DeGrauw, University of Utah

Past research has shown that, though the U.S. public generally views science favorably, the benefit of scientific inquiry has decreased in value. According to the PEW Research Center (2015), only 79% of people thought science was generally positive and made life easier for most people. This paper seeks to explore why people may view science negatively by gauging participants’ responses to genetically modified organisms, a controversial topic in science. Participants were gathered from upper division writing courses at the University of Utah, and they were asked to complete a science knowledge quiz, several questionnaires, an interview, and a think aloud protocol. Their responses were analyzed to determine their science knowledge and what questions they had about GMOs and science. Preliminary findings show most questions were geared towards the methods behind GMOs. References: Funk, C.,Rainie, L., and Page, D. (2015). Public and scientists’ views on science and society. Pew Research Center. Retrieved from