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Role-Playing in a Vaccination Debate Strengthens Student Scientific Debate Skills for Various Audiences

    Authors: Gianne Souza1,*, Philip F. Mixter2
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    Affiliations: 1: Department of Biology, University of San Francisco, San Francisco, CA 94117; 2: School of Molecular Biosciences, Washington State University, WA 99164-7520
    AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION
    • Published 04 May 2016
    • ©2016 Author(s). Published by the American Society for Microbiology.
    • [open-access] This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/legalcode), which grants the public the nonexclusive right to copy, distribute, or display the published work.

    • Supplemental materials available at http://asmscience.org/jmbe
    • *Corresponding author. Mailing address: 1357 11th Ave, San Francisco, CA 94122. Phone: 425-275-1352. E-mail: gsouza2@usfca.edu.
    Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. May 2016 vol. 17 no. 2 297-299. doi:10.1128/jmbe.v17i2.998
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    Abstract:

    Students are surrounded by strongly-held viewpoints on scientific topics and frequently discuss news reports with their classmates. We developed the vaccination debate exercise to leverage this interest and develop core higher-order cognitive skills (HOCS), including, but not limited to, the ability to critique public media or primary research sources and create arguments for defending multiple viewpoints. Students prepared to debate different sides of the topic and then randomly assumed one of the roles: “Physician” (pro-vaccine), “Activist” (anti-vaccination), or “Parent-on-the-fence” (undecided). Students reported an increase in their abilities to discuss scientific topics with diverse audiences and an increased awareness of importance of examining Internet sources for credibility.

Key Concept Ranking

Vaccination
0.94380176
Vaccines
0.725
0.94380176

References & Citations

1. Bohannon J2013Who’s afraid of peer review?Science3426154606510.1126/science.342.6154.6024092725 http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.342.6154.60
2. Crowe A, Dirks C, Wenderoth MP2008Biology in bloom: implementing Bloom’s taxonomy to enhance student learning in biologyCBE Life Sci Educ7436838110.1187/cbe.08-05-0024190474242592046 http://dx.doi.org/10.1187/cbe.08-05-0024
3. Wakefield AJ, et al1998Retraction – ileal-lymphoid-nodular hyperplasia, non-specific colitis, and pervasive development disorder in childrenLancet3759713445
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/content/journal/jmbe/10.1128/jmbe.v17i2.998
2016-05-04
2017-09-23

Abstract:

Students are surrounded by strongly-held viewpoints on scientific topics and frequently discuss news reports with their classmates. We developed the vaccination debate exercise to leverage this interest and develop core higher-order cognitive skills (HOCS), including, but not limited to, the ability to critique public media or primary research sources and create arguments for defending multiple viewpoints. Students prepared to debate different sides of the topic and then randomly assumed one of the roles: “Physician” (pro-vaccine), “Activist” (anti-vaccination), or “Parent-on-the-fence” (undecided). Students reported an increase in their abilities to discuss scientific topics with diverse audiences and an increased awareness of importance of examining Internet sources for credibility.

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Figures

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FIGURE 1

Student comment summaries. Student comments were categorized for clarity in summary “pie-chart” figures. Some students had multiple main points in a single comment section and comments were grouped separately. Total number of comments () is the total number of responses, not the total number of individuals surveyed. (A) Student-perceived most beneficial part of activity ( = 30). (B) Student-perceived most important scientific debate skills ( = 36). (C) Student-perceived most important considerations while investigating sources ( = 24). See supplemental materials for raw comment data ( Appendix 8 ).

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. May 2016 vol. 17 no. 2 297-299. doi:10.1128/jmbe.v17i2.998
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