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Students' perception of biology fieldwork : the example of students undertaking a preliminary year at a UK university

Scott, Graham W.; Goulder, Raymond; Scott, Graham; Scott, Lisa J.


Graham W. Scott

Raymond Goulder

Graham Scott

Lisa J. Scott


It is widely held among biology teachers that fieldwork is valuable, but little is heard about students' perception of fieldwork or about the reasons for their liking or disliking fieldwork. This paper uses data from students to explore the hypotheses (1) that biology students with a positive perception of fieldwork have a less positive perception of laboratory work and vice versa and (2) that perception of fieldwork is related to demographic/personal factors and/or to pre-university perceptions and experience of fieldwork. Numeric indices of appreciation of biology field and laboratory work (I field and I lab ) were determined using questionnaire information from 54 students. I field and I lab were positively correlated and there was no evidence of polarization of views; the problem that some students have a poor perception of both needs to be addressed. Mature students had a more positive view of fieldwork than 18-20-year-olds. However, regression analysis of I field against principal components suggested that demographic/personal factors had relatively little overall influence ( < 20%) on appreciation of fieldwork. Perception of fieldwork at university was related to the rank given to fieldwork when choosing a university course. However, students who had participated in pre-university fieldwork did not have a more positive perception of university fieldwork; although students who recalled a worst memory of pre-university fieldwork had a less positive perception of fieldwork at university. The seeming mixed relevance of pre-university fieldwork suggests that the relationship between perception of fieldwork undertaken at university and quality of pre-university fieldwork is an area for future research. © 2013 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.


Goulder, R., Scott, G., & Scott, L. J. (2013). Students' perception of biology fieldwork : the example of students undertaking a preliminary year at a UK university. International journal of science education, 35(8), 1385-1406.

Journal Article Type Article
Online Publication Date Aug 7, 2012
Publication Date May 1, 2013
Journal International journal of science education
Print ISSN 0950-0693
Electronic ISSN 1464-5289
Publisher Routledge
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 35
Issue 8
Pages 1385-1406
Keywords Affective domain; Biology education; Field trips
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