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Disorientating, fun or meaningful? Disadvantaged families' experiences of a science museum visit

Dawson, E; Archer, L; Seakins, A; Wong, B; (2016) Disorientating, fun or meaningful? Disadvantaged families' experiences of a science museum visit. Cultural Studies of Science Education , 11 (4) pp. 917-939. 10.1007/s11422-015-9667-7. Green open access

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Abstract

It is widely agreed that there is a need to increase and widen science partici- pation. Informal science learning environments (ISLEs), such as science museums, may provide valuable spaces within which to engage visitors—yet the visitor profile of science museums remains narrow. This paper seeks to understand the experiences of socially disadvantaged families within such spaces. Using a Bourdieusian analytic lens, we analyse qualitative data from a small study conducted with ten parents and ten children from an urban school who visited a large science museum. Data includes pre- and post-interviews, audio recordings and visit fieldnotes. We characterised families’ experiences as falling into three discourses, as ‘disorientating’, ‘fun’ or ‘meaningful’ visits. Analysis identifies how the families’ experiences, and the likelihood of deriving science learning from the visit, were shaped through interactions of habitus and capital. Implications for improving equity and inclusion within ISLEs are discussed.

Type: Article
Title: Disorientating, fun or meaningful? Disadvantaged families' experiences of a science museum visit
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1007/s11422-015-9667-7
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11422-015-9667-7
Language: English
Additional information: The final publication is available at Springer via http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11422-015-9667-7.
Keywords: Diverse families, Museums, Inclusion, Bourdieu
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Education, Practice and Society
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences > Dept of Science and Technology Studies
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1475003
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