Young, Julia M., & Daniel P. Shepardson (2018, January). Using Q methodology to investigate undergraduate students’ attitudes toward the geosciences. Science Education, 102(1), 195-214. (Link:

Abstract: Undergraduate students have different attitudes toward the geosciences, but few studies have investigated these attitudes using Q methodology. Q methodology allows the researcher to identify more detailed reasons for students’ attitudes toward geology than Likert methodology. Thus this study used Q methodology to investigate the attitudes that 15 undergraduate students had toward the geosciences. Three different groups of undergraduates were sampled: geoscience majors, science majors, and nonscience majors. Three distinct perspectives emerged from the analysis: (1) knowledge-based outlook, (2) class isolated knowledge, and (3) specific geoscientific interests. Even though all students see value and importance in learning geoscience concepts, several students suggested that a better connection of the geosciences to their everyday lives would improve their attitude toward geology.

Daniel P Shepardson <> is in the Departments of Curriculum and Instruction and Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN, USA.