Research in Science Education

, Volume 43, Issue 3, pp 895–919 | Cite as

The Generalizability of Students’ Interests in Biology Across Gender, Country and Religion

  • G. Hagay
  • A. Baram-TsabariEmail author
  • J. Ametller
  • G. Cakmakci
  • B. Lopes
  • A. Moreira
  • H. Pedrosa-de-Jesus


In order to bridge the existing gap between biology curricula and students’ interests in biology, a strategy for identifying students’ interest based on their questions and integrating them into the curriculum was developed. To characterize the level of generalizability of students’ science interests over 600 high school students from Portugal, Turkey, England and Israel, who chose biology as an advanced subject, their interest level was ranked in 36 questions that were originally raised by Israeli students. Results indicate that students from four different countries show interest in similar science questions. The most intriguing questions were the ones that dealt with human health and new developments in reproduction and genetics. Religious affiliation had the strongest effect on students’ interest level, followed by national affiliation and gender. The findings suggest that students’ interest in one context is relevant to the development of interest-based learning materials in a different context. However, despite these similarities, cultural and sociological differences need to be taken into account.


Interest Student’s questions Student’s voice Cross-cultural comparison 



Ayelet Baram-Tsabari is a Landau Fellow for Leaders in Science and Technology Program (supported by the Taub family) and an Allon Fellow for Outstanding Young Researchers. This work was enabled by the S-TEAM Project: science-teacher education advanced methods under FP7 of the EU.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • G. Hagay
    • 1
  • A. Baram-Tsabari
    • 1
    Email author
  • J. Ametller
    • 2
  • G. Cakmakci
    • 3
  • B. Lopes
    • 4
  • A. Moreira
    • 4
  • H. Pedrosa-de-Jesus
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Education in Technology and ScienceTechnion – Israel Institute of TechnologyHaifaIsrael
  2. 2.School of EducationUniversity of LeedsLeedsUK
  3. 3.Faculty of EducationHacettepe UniversityAnkaraTurkey
  4. 4.Department of EducationUniversity of AveiroAveiroPortugal

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