Research project

A Cross-cultural, Cross-age and Cross-gender Study of Hong Kong and UK Secondary Students’ Decision-making about Biological Conservation Issues

  • Research groups:
  • Lead researcher:
  • Research funder:
    The Research Grants Council
  • Status:
    Not active

Project overview

This research project, carried out in collaboration with Yeung Chung Lee at the Department of Science and Environmental Studies, The Education University of Hong Kong, explored secondary students’ decision making about socioscientific issues (SSIs) related to biological conservation, from cross-cultural, cross-age and cross-gender perspectives.

Many of these SSIs have profound repercussions on global environmental sustainability that transcend cultural boundaries, and that entail international negotiation. Making informed decisions about SSIs entails critical reasoning and the exercising of responsible citizenship, which are key aspects of interdisciplinary curricula in both Hong Kong (e.g. Liberal Studies), and the UK (e.g. Citizenship education).

This study adopted a comparative perspective and used a qualitative approach supplemented with quantitative methods. Four secondary schools, two in Hong Kong and two in the UK, were involved in decision making about sociocultural issues and in cross-cultural exchange to study the impact of culture and cross-cultural exchange on students’ decision making about conservation issues.

The participating students were from four classes in each school, two from the age range of 12-14, and the other two from 16-18, to explore age-related differences in decision making. Students in each class were presented with two conservation issues – animal culling and shark hunting.

Data about how students make decisions about the issues before and after interacting with their peers within and outside their locality were collected through discussion records, supplemented with focus-group interviews.


Lead researcher

Professor Marcus Grace BSc, MSc, PhD, PGCE, CSciTeach, FRSB

Professor of Science Education

Research interests

  • The science and values underpinning education for biodiversity, sustainable development and citizenship
  • Adolescent decision-making, and teaching and learning about socio-scientific issues
  • Outdoor science education
Connect with Marcus

Collaborating research institutes, centres and groups

Research outputs