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Knowledge and decision making on animal research

In today’s society animal research is a highly controversial topic, with both printed media and the internet representing the topic in a prominent and often emotionally charged way. Animal research serves to elucidate fundamental processes in organisms and to develop new methods for the prevention, diagnosis and therapy of human diseases such as cancer, AIDS and Alzheimers. Using animal research responsibly therefore always incorporate an act of balance between the protection and welfare of the animal and possible scientific advances. Acting responsibly also means developing and using alternative and supplementary methods. The use of animal research is an example for the utilization of scientific knowledge from the life sciences, which leads to ethical questions. These questions need to be addressed by science education in order to nurture knowledge and abilities that enable students to independently find a fact-based and substantiated opinion on these issues. This knowledge and the respective abilities are summarized under the concept of decision-making competence. The aim of the presented project is therefore to identify criteria that teaching materials have to fulfil in order to objectify the discussion about animal research in biology lessons. Furthermore students should be enabled to attain an independent assessment of the situation, which relies on facts and self-reflection. In order to assure the quality of teaching material used in the context of animal research the developed critiria will be made available to biology teachers.

Participating institutes

The project is headed by Prof. Dr. Ute Harms (Leibniz Institute for Science and Mathematics Education).

Department of Biology Education, IPN
Prof. Dr. Ute Harms
Carola Garrecht

Informationsinitiative der Wissenschaft Tierversuche verstehen
Dr. Roman Stilling