An Analysis and Evaluation of Planetarium Programming as it Relates to the Science Education of Adults in the Community
This study was concerned with the discovery of differences that existed between adults in a community who attended planetarium programs and adults in a community who did not. The measurement of these differences was confined to aspects of media participation, attitude differences, and vocabulary recognition. The study was designed so that the discovery and measurement of these differences would provide the planetarium programmer, not only with a more adequate means of identifying the participating adult, but also with some method of measuring the effectiveness of current programming in a community where a major planetarium functions as an agent for dispersement of astronomical and related sciences. The total population for the study was randomly selected from a comprehensive list of adult education classes offered by the Mott Adult Education Program of the Flint Board of Ed ucation. A total of one hundred seven adults enrolled in eight classes responded to a twelve-item inventory sheet designed to reflect the data necessary for the study. This total population was then divided into two sub-groups, attending and non-attending adults, and a comparison of the two groups was made in accordance with the objectives of the study. The analysis of the data in each of the two sub-groups varied slightly due to omitted or illegible responses on the part of the respondent. The findings revealed that the two groups were quite dissimilar in their media habits. Adults who do not attend planetariums tend to read more books than do those who do attend but they do not read newspapers as often. Although adults who attend planetarium programs also attend more movies, they spend significantly less time watching television. The findings also revealed that those adults who did not attend planetarium programs spent more time per week listening to radio broadcasts than do those who do attend the programs. From the data collected from the inventory sheet it was possible to determine, that the attitude the adult holds concerning space research expenditures, although influenced by factors such as age, is influenced even more, greater than the one per cent level of confidence, by his attendance at planetarium programs. The findings also indicated that multiple exposure of the adult to planetarium programs made a highly significant difference in the number of words recognized from a specialized glossary of space terms. When the multiple attending adult was compared to the single attending adult it was found that a level of confidence greater than 99.9 per cent existed in favor of the frequent attender of planetarium programs. This study represents an effort to identify and measure with care a segment of the adult community where a planetarium functions as a popular interpreter of a specialized body of knowledge. It is hoped that additional studies will even tually produce a body of knowledge which will give the planetarium educator a clearer picture of the people with whom he works. Only when this picture has been completed, through additional research, will the planetarium director be able to improve programming in order to meet the needs of the adult in contemporary society.
Moore, M. G. (1965). An Analysis and Evaluation of Planetarium Programming as it Relates to the Science Education of Adults in the Community. PhD. Dissertation. Michigan State University
Type of Publication
Moore, Maurice G.
Michigan State University
Number of Pages
Nation(s) of Study
United States of America