PCST Network

Public Communication of Science and Technology


Interactions between science knowledge and advocacy skills among parents of hearing- impaired children

Sophie Shauli  

The hearing impaired child's potential of integrating into hearing society largely depends on his parents. Among other skills and types of knowledge this requires parents to learn and understand vast amounts of scientific knowledge in the field of hearing. The main aims of this study are to characterize the role played by scientific knowledge in the lives of non-scientists faced with science- related decisions and to examine the relationship between the constructs of science literacy and public engagement with science. The research question guiding this project is: What are the interactions between general scientific knowledge, contextual scientific knowledge in the field of hearing, and parents' advocacy skills? This study employed semi structured interviews (n = 6) and questionnaires (n = 34) with parents of hearing-impaired children aged 6-15 who are in the process of hearing rehabilitation. General scientific knowledge was tested using questions from a standard NSF survey. Contextual scientific knowledge in the field of hearing and advocacy skills were tested using questions developed by the researchers and validated by experts and two interviewed families. Data was analyzed using thematic analysis method and regression and correlation tests. The analysis provides some evidence that engagement with science is a powerful factor in rehabilitation. Hierarchical regression analysis shows that contextual scientific knowledge is the best and only predictor for parental advocacy skills (R2=0.43). Although, general scientific knowledge is the best predictor for contextual knowledge (R2=0.17), and moderately correlated to advocacy skills, it is not a predictor of advocacy skills. In this sense, scientific knowledge plays a major role in the lives of hearing impaired, even if they do not list it as a resource for successful integration into hearing society.

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