McKinzie Peterson

McKinzie Peterson

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Degree MS in NRES
Address 248 Hardin Hall - Section 55
3310 Holdrege Street
Lincoln NE
FAX 402-472-2946
Advisor(s) Cory Forbes
Jenny Dauer


Selected Publications

Peterson, A. McKenzie .2017. Problematizing socio-scientific issues: An approach to understanding student decision-making using Construal Level Theory. (M.S. Thesis). University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
Peterson, M.M., G.L. Horst, P.J. Shea, and S.D. Comfort 1998. Germination and seedling development of switchgrass and smooth bromegrass exposed to 2,4,6-trinitrotoluene. Environmental Pollution. 99:53-59 (Journal Series Number:11968)


Selected Presentations

Problematizing socio-scientific issues: An approach to understanding student decision-making using construal level theory
  • Presentation Type: Thesis Defense
  • Date: 3/28/2017
  • Abstract:

    Science literacy refers to the ability to understand and utilize scientific information for personal and societal level decisions. A common recommendation by scientists is to use socio-scientific issues (SSIs) to develop and improve science literacy. Students need structured frameworks to help them learn to navigate and address SSIs. An important step in these frameworks is the problem definition, which can significantly influence solutions proposed by students and their ultimate decisions. Construal Level Theory (CLT), which is a theory that describes the relationship between psychological distance and the extent of abstract and concrete thinking, is one way in which problem definitions can differ. Several studies in CLT suggest differences in how abstract or concrete situations are portrayed to students can significantly change their decisions, perceptions, and use of personal values.

    This study explores how CLT is related to decisions and perceptions of 6thgraders (n = 116) on a wind energy SSI and the use of values in decision-making on an undergraduate (n = 73) prairie dog SSI. Mixed/neutral perceptions of wind turbines in the 6thgrade population had higher abstraction scores than those with negative perceptions. In the undergraduate prairie dog study, abstraction is related to values students utilized in their problem statements and criteria during the decision-making process. Teaching implications for this research are discussed.


Areas of Interest

  • Science Literacy

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