Achieving scientific sustainability – A pilot study into the importance of improving first year undergraduate scientific literacy in the biological sciences


  • Sarah Illingworth
  • Karen Burke Da Silva


Listed amongst the graduate qualities of most, if not all, Australian universities is that of students being ‘knowledgeable’ in their degree’s subject matter with a thorough understanding of how that knowledge can then be applied to real world contexts. Yet, many previous studies have indicated that many of our graduates are potentially unable to make significant decisions due to their lack of a basic level of scientific understanding. The possession of at least a basic understanding of science and how it affects society is crucial for all undergraduate students to possess, as without it they may soon become disadvantaged in our increasingly technological global environment. Scientific literacy should therefore be considered to be a high priority for all graduates as not only does it increase their interest in and understanding of the world around them, but also allows them to engage in discussions of scientific advancements and be sceptical and questioning of the claims made by others.