John H. Falk's Publications
This article examines a range of factors potentially contributing to adult knowledge of science and technology. Results from a telephone survey of 1,018 adult residents in greater Los Angeles, California (United States) showed that adult free-choice learning experiences such as reading books and magazines about science and technology, using the internet, and watching science related documentaries and videos were the strongest predictors of self-reported knowledge of science and technology.
Two random telephone surveys of L.A. county adults 18 years of age and over (n=832; n=1,008) were conducted; one in 2000, shortly after the opening of the totally redesigned and rebuilt Science Center and one in 2009, roughly a decade after opening. Samples were drawn from five racially, ethnically, and socio-economically diverse communities generally
representative of greater L.A. Results suggest that the Science Center is having an important impact on the science literacy of greater L.A. More than half of residents have visited the Science Center since it opened in 1998 and self-report data indicate that those who have visited believe that the Science Center strongly influenced their science and technology understanding, attitudes, and behaviors. Importantly, Science Center visitors are broadly representative of the general population of greater L.A. including individuals from all races and ethnicities, ages, education, and income levels with
some of the strongest beliefs of impact expressed by minority and low-income individuals. The use of a conceptual ‘‘marker’’ substantiates these conclusions and suggests that the impact of the Science Center might even be greater than indicated by the mostly self-report data reported here.
Results enable the participating science centres, and by extension others within the science centre community to state with much greater confidence that the presence of one or more healthy and active science centres within a community, region, or country represents a vital mechanism for creating and maintaining a scientifically and technologically informed, engaged and literate public.