Environmental perception as a diagnostic probe of environmental complexity levels
KeywordsPrincipal component analysis
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AbstractPurpose Educational methods to diagnose and improve the level of environmental conception are required. The present work reports a methodology based on studies about the environmental perception of a university public, divided into general students and those related to the forest sciences, who are involved with disciplines and researches related to e.g. environmental management. Design/Methodology/Approach The environmental perception obtained from the graphical representation of environment and the most relevant actions indicated by the students to achieve the environmental conservation, divided in four levels of complexity, were correlated using principal component analysis. Findings The students from both groups having the highest scores in environmental perception prioritize actions related to the comprehension and responsibility levels, while the ideal scenario would be to indicate actions related to competence and citizenship. Thus, the complex concept about environment of the students is still incipient and, therefore, educational strategies can be traced based on the profiles obtained. Practical Implications The method for environmental perception can be designed for different populations and a scheme relating environmental perception with four levels of actions on behalf of the environmental conservation is proposed to diagnose environmental conceptions, as well as to guide educational strategies about socio-ecological system. Originality/Value A semi-quantitative method was developed to estimate, clearly and directly, the level of complexity about the environmental knowledge of university students and, consequently, to predict the actions on behalf of the environmental conservation that they would probably perform.
FREITAS, M. R. et al. Environmental perception as a diagnostic probe of environmental complexity levels. The Journal of Agricultural Education and Extension, [S. l.], p. 1-10, May 2014.