Research Project Critical Science Literacy

  • Project duration: 1.10.2015 to 31.03.2017
  • Project management: Univ. Ass. Dr. Brigitte Bargetz
  • Project staff: Mag. Rosa Costa, Dr. Iris Mendel
  • In cooperation with: Dr. Anita Kitzberger, expertise didactics of Psychology & Philosophy, and students of the 11th grade course Psychology & Philosophy GRG 23, Alterlaa 

Supported by the Austrian Federal Ministry for Science, Research and Economy (BMWFW) within the research programme "Sparkling Science".

In current information societies, scientific knowledge plays a significant role in the stabilization and reproduction of the social order. For this reason, the capacitiy to critically engage with scientific knowledge has become an indispensable democratic basic skill. In this project, junior highschool students will elaborate a critical and gender sensitive understanding of the human sciences together with scientists and their high school psychology teacher. The students will inquire how scientific knowledge about humans and about gender is produced, distributed, and rendered powerful in various media formats.  

The students ans and scientists will analyze psychological theories and their representation in school books and popular media. There will be discussions with the students in order to reconstruct their (everyday) psychological theories. Also the students will learn and apply the method of critical discourse analysis. This methodical repertoire, combined with the transdisciplinary methodical toolkit of science and technology studies and the feminist critique of science, will help students to analyze which psychological theories are taken up in everyday knowledge, school books, and popular media and which theories are neglected. Furthermore, the students will interrogate the relation between science and power and the ways in which social inequalities are reproduced under the banner of scientific objectivity.  

Finally, the students will also investigate alternative knowledge productions about gender. The results will be published online by the students. The objective of this project is to improve students’ and highschool teachers’ critical scientific literacy, i.e., the critical engagement with scientific knowledge.

The project will result in scientific publications and in didactic materials for highschool classrooms.


Mag.a Rosa Iris Mendel