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College Students’ Understanding of Chemical Compounds, Sources of Information, and Risk Perceptions Regarding Environmental Sustainability Issues

Show-Yu Lin
Department of Natural Sciences, Center for General Education, Aletheia University
Abstract—This study explored Taiwanese college students’ understanding of chemical compounds, information sources, and risk perceptions regarding environmental sustainability (ES) issues in Taiwan. A total of 51 participants completed three instruments addressing their understanding of chemical compounds on ES issues, information sources on ES issues, and risk perceptions regarding ES issues. The data analysis comprised descriptive statistics. There were three main findings of the study. First, in relation to chemical compounds, all the participants (100%) agreed with the scientific belief that CO2 affects global warming (GW), 62.75% of the participants were aware that CFCs cause ozone layer depletion, and 52.94% and 56% of the participants, respectively, understood that CO2 and SO2 contributed to acid rain. Second, the main sources of information on the three ES issues were teachers (88.24%) in the people category, textbooks (73.86%) in the paper document category, the internet (59.48%) in the electronic document category, and speech (22.22%) in the activity category. Third, the participants’ risk perceptions of issues relating to the three ES dimensions of environmental pollution, natural disasters, and resources and ecology were GW, mud flow and landslides, and alien species; by contrast, tsunamis, desertification, and sandstorms were perceived as having the lowest risk. Suggestions for future work include developing effective strategies to improve understanding on ES issues; enhancing environmental, chemical, and scientific literacy regarding the information sourced from teachers, textbooks, newspapers, the internet, TV, teaching, and extracurricular reading; and responding to people’s risk perceptions regarding ES issues in terms of how these relate to local societies and culture.
Index Terms—chemical compounds, conceptions, environmental sustainability issues, risk perceptions, understandings

Cite: Show-Yu Lin, "College Students’ Understanding of Chemical Compounds, Sources of Information, and Risk Perceptions Regarding Environmental Sustainability Issues," International Journal of Learning and Teaching, Vol. 4, No. 4, pp. 326-329, December 2018. doi: 10.18178/ijlt.4.4.326-329
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