Reading critically: Evaluating context, evidence and claims in science-based media reports.

William McClune

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

99 Downloads (Pure)


Science news reported in the media sways opinions and influences decision-making in relation to science-based issues. In addition, within a community the level of science literacy will influence the public attitude and response to science issues. These claims underpin the concern of science educators to prepare young people for meaningful involvement with science based issues and debates that are of relevance to them and impact on their wellbeing and that of their communities. This paper reports on a study of a curricular intervention for pupils (age 11-14 years) in the UK aimed at developing critical reading literacy using science based media reports. In particular the study focused on the core reading literacy skills of interpreting and evaluating in the context of science-based media reports. The study relies on classroom observation and analysis of a programme of science lessons based on science news media resources. It included a number of media based reading activities and suggested both individual and group work tasks. Researchers noted negotiation among pupils to achieve agreement within the group as they developed and consolidated their critical reading skills in the context of science-based media reports. Following the programme of activities competency tasks were used to assess pupils’ capability as critical consumers of science presented as news. Data sources included video recordings, pupils’ class work and assessment tasks. In addition pupils completed a questionnaire and researchers conducted semi-structured interviews. Pupils demonstrated a grasp of foundational critical reading elements however their mastery of intermediate and higher level skills was limited. Competency in these skill areas was best illustrated in the context of collaborative working. Media reports intended to communicate science research and innovation provide opportunities for teachers to develop among their pupils the critical reading skills that are essential for promoting literacy in science.


ConferenceNARST Annual conference 2018:
Recentering on Scientific Literacy in an era of Science Mistrust and Misunderstanding
Country/TerritoryUnited States


  • Science Literacy,
  • Reasoning,
  • Classroom Observation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Reading critically: Evaluating context, evidence and claims in science-based media reports.'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this