Perceptions of students and teachers participating in a science festival regarding science and scientists

ATEŞ Ö., ATEŞ A. M., Aladag Y.

RESEARCH IN SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGICAL EDUCATION, vol.39, no.1, pp.109-130, 2021 (SSCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 39 Issue: 1
  • Publication Date: 2021
  • Doi Number: 10.1080/02635143.2020.1740666
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, EBSCO Education Source, Education Abstracts, Educational research abstracts (ERA), ERIC (Education Resources Information Center), Psycinfo
  • Page Numbers: pp.109-130
  • Keywords: Draw-A-Scientist Test, stereotypical images, Word-Association Test, IMAGES, REPRESENTATIONS, VIEWS
  • Dokuz Eylül University Affiliated: No


Background: Numerous studies have been conducted to identify students' perceptions of science and scientists since the 1950s. Those studies have revealed that students have stereotypical perceptions, on which teachers may have a significant effect. It is, therefore, essential to determine both teachers' and students' perceptions. Purpose: The aim of this study is to investigate students' and teachers' perceptions of science and scientists. Sample: The sample for the study consisted of 85 students and 47 teachers who participated in a science festival. Design and methods: The study is based on a descriptive survey model. Data were collected using the Draw-A-Scientist Test (DAST) and Word Association Test (WAT), and analyzed using content analysis. Results: Participants' drawings focused on scientists' physical characteristics, type of activity, working environment and the materials used while conducting experiments. A scientist was often depicted as a man in a lab coat with strange hair and eyeglasses and using laboratory materials. Teachers made more detailed drawings of scientists' working style and environment and more detailed associations with the nature of science, ways of acquiring scientific knowledge and scientific process. Unlike teachers, students emphasized space-related concepts both in their drawings and word associations. Conclusion: This study shows that both teachers and students possess various stereotypical perceptions of scientists aligned with the previous studies. However, the number of scientists drawn as happy and female is higher than the previous studies, which is a promising finding. Moreover, students' drawings consisting symbols or alternative images that evoked space in particular is one of the several aspects which differentiate this study from most studies. This study also shows that using drawings and word association tests together provides a richer understanding of people's views of science and scientists than using only one measurement tool.