What scientific concepts are required to understand climate change?


  • Lorna E. Jarrett
  • George Takacs
  • Brian Ferry


A large body of international research shows that school students frequently hold misconceptions about the science of climate change. In order to investigate students’ understanding of this complex topic in more detail, a concept inventory (CI) is being developed for the key scientific concepts underlying climate change. This paper reports on the first stage of this process: determining which concepts should be included. A Delphi study was conducted to consult 18 academics, researchers and high-school teachers with expertise in the topic. A literature review was also carried out to determine which concepts were cited as important for understanding climate change. The final list of concepts to be covered by the CI is a synthesis of these.