Evolutionary Explanations for Antibiotic Resistance in Daily Press, Online Websites and Biology Textbooks in Sweden
2015 (English)In: International Journal of Science Education, Part B: Communication and Public Engagement, ISSN 2154-8455, EISSN 2154-8463, Vol. 5, no 4, 319-338 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
The present study explores the extent and precision of evolutionary explanations for antibiotic resistance in communication directed toward the Swedish public. Bacterial resistance develops through evolutionary mechanisms and knowledge of these helps to explain causes underlying the growing prevalence of resistant strains, as well as important countermeasures to address the problem. A content analysis based on key evolutionary concepts underpinning resistance development was conducted on three different data sources: print newspapers, online websites and biology textbooks. The results revealed that evolutionary mechanisms are seldom included in accounts of antibiotic resistance provided by these sources. One of the included textbooks (n = 6) but none of the newspaper articles (n = 221) or websites (n = 19) covered all six concepts considered in the analysis. A cluster of four concepts regarded as most important for understanding the evolution of resistance development was only included in one news article, one textbook and two websites. Moreover, explanations were seldom supported visually and only two accompanying illustrations were found during the analysis. The results indicated that a large proportion of the Swedish public might never encounter an explanation of antibiotic resistance in evolutionary terms. This could be problematic since increased public awareness and understanding is crucial to counter the issue of bacterial resistance.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Routledge, 2015. Vol. 5, no 4, 319-338 p.
Antibiotic resistance, Evolution, Textbook analysis, Content analysis, News media
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-111959DOI: 10.1080/21548455.2014.978411OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-111959DiVA: diva2:762374
FunderSwedish Research Council, 2012-5344