Young Adults’ Belief in Genetic Determinism, and Knowledge and Attitudes towards Modern Genetics and Genomics: The PUGGS Questionnaire
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionPLoS ONE. 2017, 12 (1), . 10.1371/journal.pone.0169808
In this paper we present the development and validation a comprehensive questionnaire to assess college students' knowledge about modern genetics and genomics, their belief in genetic determinism, and their attitudes towards applications of modern genetics and genomic-based technologies. Written in everyday language with minimal jargon, the Public Understanding and Attitudes towards Genetics and Genomics (PUGGS) questionnaire is intended for use in research on science education and public understanding of science, as a means to investigate relationships between knowledge, determinism and attitudes about modern genetics, which are to date little understood. We developed a set of core ideas and initial items from reviewing the scientific literature on genetics and previous studies on public and student knowledge and attitudes about genetics. Seventeen international experts from different fields (e.g., genetics, education, philosophy of science) reviewed the initial items and their feedback was used to revise the questionnaire. We validated the questionnaire in two pilot tests with samples of university freshmen students. The final questionnaire contains 45 items, including both multiple choice and Likert scale response formats. Cronbach alpha showed good reliability for each section of the questionnaire. In conclusion, the PUGGS questionnaire is a reliable tool for investigating public understanding and attitudes towards modern genetics and genomic-based technologies.