Environmental Literacy Research in Israel: Content Analysis and Its Interdisciplinary Implications
In 2006 a national survey of Environmental Literacy (EL) was conducted in Israel. More than 7000 6th and 12th grade students from 182 schools participated in the survey, representing the different indicators chosen, such as: religious and ethnic group, settlement size, and socioeconomic status. The survey consisted of both closed and open-ended questions dealing with environmental awareness, knowledge, and behavior whilst specifically asking open-ended questions regarding the students' apprehension towards environmental problems in Israel. The survey also enquired about the children's' experiences in nature, particularly with whom and where they had the experience, and what if any, were the emotions connected with their experiences. Several quantitative and qualitative methods were used to analyze the data obtained from the questionnaire, resulting in a final report being presented in several governmental forums. A second stage analysis was conducted for the open-ended questions, utilizing the "content analysis" method, which is often applied for descriptive texts. During this study however it was discovered, that most of the answers in the surveys were minimal and usually did not contain more than one sentence. These minimal answers therefore, required a slightly different approach. Consequently the ‘content analysis’, method was specially adapted to extract the meaning hidden within the answers; the research extracted new and unpredicted data regarding EL of children in Israel. Therefore the main purpose of this paper is to present the methodology, and the uniqueness of its use within this analysis, as well as highlighting some of the difficulties encountered utilizing such an approach. It is hoped that this research’s findings will be significant for not only Environmental Literacy research, but to the entire Interdisciplinary academic community.
Keywords: Content Analysis, Environmental Literacy, Israel
Master Student, Department of Man in the Desert