Research in Science Education

, Volume 49, Issue 2, pp 295–329 | Cite as

Renewable and Nuclear Energy: an International Study of Students’ Beliefs About, and Willingness to Act, in Relation to Two Energy Production Scenarios

  • Keith SkampEmail author
  • Eddie Boyes
  • Martin Stanisstreet
  • Manuel Rodriguez
  • Georgios Malandrakis
  • Rosanne Fortner
  • Ahmet Kilinc
  • Neil Taylor
  • Kiran Chhokar
  • Shweta Dua
  • Abdullah Ambusaidi
  • Irene Cheong
  • Mijung Kim
  • Hye-Gyoung Yoon


Renewable and nuclear energy are two plausible alternatives to fossil fuel-based energy production. This study reports students’ beliefs about the usefulness of these two options in reducing global warming and their willingness to undertake actions that would encourage their uptake. Using a specially designed questionnaire, students’ (n > 12,000; grades 6 to 10) responses were obtained from 11 countries. Links between their beliefs about these energy options and their willingness to act were quantified using a range of novel derived indices: significant differences between beliefs and willingness to act were found across the various counties. One derived index, the Potential Effectiveness of Education, measures the extent to which enhancing a person’s belief in the effectiveness of an action might increase their willingness to undertake that action: this indicated that education may impact willingness to act in some countries more than others. Interpretations are proffered for the reported differences between countries including whether the extent of students’ concern about global warming had impacted their decisions and whether cultural attributes had any influence. Pedagogical ways forward are related to the findings.


Renewable energy Nuclear energy Cultural differences Environmental action Environmental education Global warming 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Keith Skamp
    • 1
    Email author
  • Eddie Boyes
    • 2
  • Martin Stanisstreet
    • 2
  • Manuel Rodriguez
    • 3
  • Georgios Malandrakis
    • 4
  • Rosanne Fortner
    • 5
  • Ahmet Kilinc
    • 6
  • Neil Taylor
    • 7
  • Kiran Chhokar
    • 8
  • Shweta Dua
    • 8
  • Abdullah Ambusaidi
    • 9
  • Irene Cheong
    • 10
  • Mijung Kim
    • 11
  • Hye-Gyoung Yoon
    • 12
  1. 1.School of EducationSouthern Cross UniversityLismoreAustralia
  2. 2.University of LiverpoolLiverpoolEngland
  3. 3.Ciudad UniversitariaMadridSpain
  4. 4.University of Western MacedoniaFlorinaGreece
  5. 5.Ohio State UniversityColumbusUSA
  6. 6.Uludag UniversityBursaTurkey
  7. 7.University of New EnglandArmidaleAustralia
  8. 8.Centre for Environmental EducationDelhiIndia
  9. 9.Sultan Qaboos UniversityMuscatOman
  10. 10.Australian Catholic UniversityBrisbaneAustralia
  11. 11.University of AlbertaAlbertaCanada
  12. 12.Chuncheon National University of EducationChuncheonRepublic of Korea

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