Browsing by Subject "SCIENCE"

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  • Eronen, Lasse; Kokko, Sirpa; Sormunen, Kari (2019)
    In 2014, the Finnish National Board of Education launched a new core curriculum with the aim of meeting the skills and competence requirements of the 21st century. The purpose of this case study was to find out what transversal competencies Finnish eighth graders developed and how they experienced studying in a problem-based transdisciplinary course, which was arranged for the transitional stage between the former and the new curriculum. The qualitative data consisted of questionnaires and interviews. The analysis followed the methods of qualitative content analysis. When asked about their learning, the students commented on not having learnt much, referring to the discipline-based knowledge. Instead, they had learnt skills through teamwork, problem solving, and expression of their views and opinions, an aspect that they did not clearly connect with the things to be learnt at school. Many students felt that they acquired the competencies that they would need later in their lives. The students' teamwork had a crucial impact on their learning experience. The timeframe for the integrative approach needs careful consideration; the learning process in this course was perceived as being successful because it was long enough. Our study highlights that focusing on students' views is critical when reforming curriculum.
  • Jarić, Ivan; Roll, Uri; Arlinghaus, Robert; Belmaker, Jonathan; Chen, Yan; China, Victor; Douda, Karel; Essl, Franz; Jähnig, Sonja C.; Jeschke, Jonathan M.; Kalinkat, Gregor; Kalous, Lukáš; Ladle, Richard; Lennox, Robert J.; Rosa, Rui; Sbragaglia, Valerio; Sherren, Kate; Šmejkal, Marek; Soriano-Redondo, Andrea; Souza, Allan T.; Wolter, Christian; Correia, Ricardo A. (2020)
    The ongoing digital revolution in the age of big data is opening new research opportunities. Culturomics and iEcology, two emerging research areas based on the analysis of online data resources, can provide novel scientific insights and inform conservation and management efforts. To date, culturomics and iEcology have been applied primarily in the terrestrial realm. Here, we advocate for expanding such applications to the aquatic realm by providing a brief overview of these new approaches and outlining key areas in which culturomics and iEcology are likely to have the highest impact, including the management of protected areas; fisheries; flagship species identification; detection and distribution of threatened, rare, and alien species; assessment of ecosystem status and anthropogenic impacts; and social impact assessment. When deployed in the right context with awareness of potential biases, culturomics and iEcology are ripe for rapid development as low-cost research approaches based on data available from digital sources, with increasingly diverse applications for aquatic ecosystems.
  • Tedre, Matti; Moisseinen, Nella (2014)
    Experiments play a central role in science. The role of experiments in computing is, however, unclear. Questions about the relevance of experiments in computing attracted little attention until the 1980s. As the discipline then saw a push towards experimental computer science, a variety of technically, theoretically, and empirically oriented views on experiments emerged. As a consequence of those debates, today's computing fields use experiments and experiment terminology in a variety of ways. This paper analyzes experimentation debates in computing. It presents five ways in which debaters have conceptualized experiments in computing: feasibility experiment, trial experiment, field experiment, comparison experiment, and controlled experiment. This paper has three aims: to clarify experiment terminology in computing; to contribute to disciplinary self-understanding of computing; and, due to computing's centrality in other fields, to promote understanding of experiments in modern science in general.
  • Kleemola, Katri; Hyytinen, Heidi (2019)
    As Finnish university admissions are reformed, more information is needed on the relationship between performance in prior education and later academic achievement. Transition to university is a critical period, and low performance in prior education is associated with challenges in later study. In the present study, law students' (n = 426) performance in the National Matriculation Examination was investigated in relation to later academic achievement at university. Quantitative methods were used. Findings showed that prior performance was not only associated with study success but also with study progress. The results also showed that law students who had grades in the advanced mathematics course were faster and more successful at university. This work contributes to the existing knowledge of university admissions ahead of the Finnish reform by providing new insights into prior performance and how it is related to academic achievement at university.
  • Aivelo, Tuomas; Uitto, Anna (2021)
    Understanding how teaching affects students' attitudes and beliefs is notoriously difficult, specifically in a quickly evolving and societally relevant field such as genetics. The aim of this survey study is to capitalize our previous research and examine how teaching relates to Finnish secondary school students’ liking of, self-concept in and experienced utility of genetics, attitude towards gene technology and belief in genetic determinism. In this unique setting, we used as explanatory variables their teachers’ teaching emphases and learning materials, and as student-related factors, we used gender and the number of biology courses attended. Item-response theory with exploratory, confirmatory, and explanatory analyses were carried out to model the data. Teaching explained students’ attitudes and beliefs: if the teacher’s emphasis was Hereditary or the textbook with stronger Mendelian emphasis was used, students tended to havemore negative attitudes towards learning genetics and stronger belief in genetic determinism . Our results also suggest gender differences: male students had more positive attitude towards gene technology, higher self-concept, whereas as utility of genetics and belief in genetic determinism were higher in females. The results suggest that teaching’ approaches as well as learning materials need updates to fulfil the needs for genetics literacy.
  • Väliverronen, Esa; Saikkonen, Sampsa (2021)
    The media have become an important arena where struggles over the symbolic legitimacy of expert authority take place and where scientific experts increasingly have to compete for public recognition. The rise of authoritarian and populist leaders in many countries and the growing importance of social media have fueled criticism against scientific institutions and individual researchers. This paper discusses the new hidden forms of suppression and self-censorship regarding scientists' roles as public experts. It is based on two web surveys conducted among Finnish researchers in 2015 and 2017. We focus on answers to the open-ended questions in these surveys, where respondents reflect upon issues of freedom of expression and the feedback they receive in public arenas. Building on previous research on suppression, "research silencing," and the "chilling effect," we discuss the connection between freedom of expression and freedom of inquiry. We make a distinction between four forms of suppression: political and economic control, organizational control, control between rival academics, and control from publics. Moreover, we make explicit and discuss the means, motives, and practices of suppression within each of these four forms.
  • Herranen, Jaana Kristiina; Vesterinen, Veli-Matti; Aksela, Maija Katariina (2018)
    Learner-centered sustainability education has been advocated to be used in higher education, but the pedagogy is blurry. In the discussions, also an idea of a learner-driven approach has been promoted. The aim of this study is to study how these pedagogies have been described and suggested to be used by a group of higher education students responsible for planning a teacher education course on sustainability education. This case study uses grounded theory to analyze the higher education students’ beliefs about learner-centered and learner-driven sustainability education. The data was obtained from audio-recordings of the planning process and two semi-structured interviews of five students acting as course designers. The course designers showed to have beliefs about the nature of learner-centered/learner-driven pedagogy, freedom, meaningfulness, acting and making an influence in the learning environment, the nature and ownership of sustainable development knowledge, the diversity of the learners, and pedagogical support. The results indicate that the learner-centered and learner-driven approach are fundamentally different in terms of all of the categories. In conclusion, it is suggested that the terminology concerning learner-centered and learner-driven approaches should be more precise, and sustainability education should be developed towards a more transformative, learner-driven education
  • Gaia Collaboration; Spoto, F.; Muinonen, K.; Granvik, M.; Fedorets, G.; Siltala, L. (2018)
    Context. The Gaia spacecraft of the European Space Agency (ESA) has been securing observations of solar system objects (SSOs) since the beginning of its operations. Data Release 2 (DR2) contains the observations of a selected sample of 14,099 SSOs. These asteroids have been already identified and have been numbered by the Minor Planet Center repository. Positions are provided for each Gaia observation at CCD level. As additional information, complementary to astrometry, the apparent brightness of SSOs in the unfiltered G band is also provided for selected observations. Aims. We explain the processing of SSO data, and describe the criteria we used to select the sample published in Gaia DR2. We then explore the data set to assess its quality. Methods. To exploit the main data product for the solar system in Gaia DR2, which is the epoch astrometry of asteroids, it is necessary to take into account the unusual properties of the uncertainty, as the position information is nearly one-dimensional. When this aspect is handled appropriately, an orbit fit can be obtained with post-fit residuals that are overall consistent with the a-priori error model that was used to define individual values of the astrometric uncertainty. The role of both random and systematic errors is described. The distribution of residuals allowed us to identify possible contaminants in the data set (such as stars). Photometry in the G band was compared to computed values from reference asteroid shapes and to the flux registered at the corresponding epochs by the red and blue photometers (RP and BP). Results. The overall astrometric performance is close to the expectations, with an optimal range of brightness G similar to 12 - 17. In this range, the typical transit-level accuracy is well below 1 mas. For fainter asteroids, the growing photon noise deteriorates the performance. Asteroids brighter than G similar to 12 are affected by a lower performance of the processing of their signals. The dramatic improvement brought by Gaia DR2 astrometry of SSOs is demonstrated by comparisons to the archive data and by preliminary tests on the detection of subtle non-gravitational effects.
  • Girardello, Marco; Chapman, Anna; Dennis, Roger; Kaila, Lauri; Borges, Paulo; Santangeli, Andrea (2019)
    Species distribution data are crucial for assessing the conservation status of species (red listing, IUCN) and implementing international conservation targets, such as those set by the International Convention on Biological Diversity. Although there have been a number of efforts aimed at aggregating biodiversity data, information on the distribution of many taxa is still scanty (i.e. the Wallacean Shortfall). In this study, we use a large database, including over 19 million species occurrence records, to identify knowledge gaps in biodiversity inventories for butterfly records at a global level. Bayesian hierarchical spatial models were used to quantify the relationship between gaps in inventory completeness and the density of roads, protected areas and elevational range, the former variable being a proxy for accessibility, the latter two for attractiveness to recorders. Our results show that despite > 100 years of butterfly sampling, knowledge of the distribution of butterflies is still limited in tropical areas. The results revealed that gaps in butterfly inventories are largely concentrated in areas of low elevational range, low density of protected areas and low road density. We conclude that the Wallacean Shortfall is a problem even for one of the best studied insect groups. In the light of these data limitations, we discuss prospects for filling gaps in butterfly inventories at the global scale within relatively short time frames. We argue that a combination of citizen science and quantitative tools may help to fill knowledge gaps and inform conservation decisions.
  • Cuthbert, Ross N.; Pattison, Zarah; Taylor, Nigel G.; Verbrugge, Laura; Diagne, Christophe; Ahmed, Danish A.; Leroy, Boris; Angulo, Elena; Briski, Elizabeta; Capinha, Cesar; Catford, Jane A.; Dalu, Tatenda; Essl, Franz; Gozlan, Rodolphe E.; Haubrock, Phillip J.; Kourantidou, Melina; Kramer, Andrew M.; Renault, David; Wasserman, Ryan J.; Courchamp, Franck (2021)
    Much research effort has been invested in understanding ecological impacts of invasive alien species (IAS) across ecosystems and taxonomic groups, but empirical studies about economic effects lack synthesis. Using a comprehensive global database, we determine patterns and trends in economic costs of aquatic IAS by examining: (i) the distribution of these costs across taxa, geographic regions and cost types; (ii) the temporal dynamics of global costs; and (iii) knowledge gaps, especially compared to terrestrial IAS. Based on the costs recorded from the existing literature, the global cost of aquatic IAS conservatively summed to US$345 billion, with the majority attributed to invertebrates (62%), followed by vertebrates (28%), then plants (6%). The largest costs were reported in North America (48%) and Asia (13%), and were principally a result of resource damages (74%); only 6% of recorded costs were from management. The magnitude and number of reported costs were highest in the United States of America and for semi-aquatic taxa. Many countries and known aquatic alien species had no reported costs, especially in Africa and Asia. Accordingly, a network analysis revealed limited connectivity among countries, indicating disparate cost reporting. Aquatic IAS costs have increased in recent decades by several orders of magnitude, reaching at least US$23 billion in 2020. Costs are likely considerably underrepresented compared to terrestrial IAS; only 5% of reported costs were from aquatic species, despite 26% of known invaders being aquatic. Additionally, only 1% of aquatic invasion costs were from marine species. Costs of aquatic IAS are thus substantial, but likely underreported. Costs have increased over time and are expected to continue rising with future invasions. We urge increased and improved cost reporting by managers, practitioners and researchers to reduce knowledge gaps. Few costs are proactive investments; increased management spending is urgently needed to prevent and limit current and future aquatic IAS damages. (c) 2021 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
  • Buizer, Marleen; Elands, Birgit; Vierikko, Kati (2016)
    With the aim to embed ecology more forcefully into decision-making, the concept of Ecosystems Services (ES) has gained significant ground amongpolicy-makers and researchers. The increasing recognition of the importance of urban green areas for the quality of life in growing cities has led proponents of ES approaches to argue for an uptake of the approach in urban environmental decision-making. However, the ES approach has been criticized for standing too much at a distance from local communities and their day-to-day practices and for insufficiently taking into account the potential trade-offs between different qualities or preferences. In this paper we argue that other concepts, doing other work, need to be added to the debate about futures of urban governance and research. Biocultural diversity is suggested as one such alternative concept. By its emphasis On diversity, biocultural diversity can account for the many ways in which people live with green areas in the urban landscape, acknowledges the different knowledges this involves, and can reveal conflicts and ambivalence that may be at stake. This sets up for a reflexive, transdisciplinary research process that questions and contextualizes knowledge and worldviews including those of researchers. A reflexive, transdisciplinary research, then, is a productive catalyst for forms of reflexive urban governance that recognise and respond to this diversity and provide platforms for contestation. (C) 2016 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.
  • Reyes-García, Victoria; Gallois, Sandrine; Pyhälä, Aili; Diaz-Riviriego, Isabel; Fernandez-Llamazares Onrubia, Alvaro; Galbraith, Eric; Miñarro, Sara; Napitupulu, Tezza (2021)
    While cross-cultural research on subjective well-being and its multiple drivers is growing, the study of happiness among Indigenous peoples continues to be under-represented in the literature. In this work, we measure life satisfaction through open-ended questionnaires to explore levels and drivers of subjective well-being among 474 adults in three Indigenous societies across the tropics: the Tsimane’ in Bolivian lowland Amazonia, the Baka in southeastern Cameroon, and the Punan in Indonesian Borneo. We found that life satisfaction levels in the three studied societies are slightly above neutral, suggesting that most people in the sample consider themselves as moderately happy. We also found that respondents provided explanations mostly when their satisfaction with life was negative, as if moderate happiness was the normal state and explanations were only needed when reporting a different life satisfaction level due to some exceptionally good or bad occurrence. Finally, we also found that issues related to health and–to a lesser extent–social life were the more prominent explanations for life satisfaction. Our research not only highlights the importance to understand, appreciate and respect Indigenous peoples’ own perspectives and insights on subjective well-being, but also suggests that the greatest gains in subjective well-being might be achieved by alleviating the factors that tend to make people unhappy.
  • Tuomisto, Jouni; Asikainen, Arja; Meriläinen, Päivi; Haapasaari, Päivi (2020)
    Background: Health risks linked with dioxin in fish remain a complex policy issue. Fatty Baltic fish contain persistent pollutants, but they are otherwise healthy food. We studied the health benefits and risks associated with Baltic herring and salmon in four countries to identify critical uncertainties and to facilitate an evidence-based discussion. Methods: We performed an online survey investigating consumers’ fish consumption and its motivation in Denmark, Estonia, Finland, and Sweden. Dioxin and methylmercury concentrations were estimated based on Finnish studies. Exposure-response functions for several health endpoints were evaluated and quantified based on the scientific literature. We also quantified the infertility risk of men based on a recent European risk assessment estimating childhood dioxin exposure and its effect on sperm concentration later in life. Results: Baltic herring and salmon contain omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D, and the beneficial impact of these fishes on cardiovascular diseases, mortality, and the risk of depression and cancer clearly outweighs risks of dioxins and methylmercury in people older than 45 years of age and in young men. Young women may expose their children to pollutants during pregnancy and breast feeding. This study suggests that even in this critical subgroup, the risks are small and the health benefits are greater than or at least similar to the health risks. Value of information analysis demonstrated that the remaining scientific uncertainties are not large. In contrast, there are several critical uncertainties that are inherently value judgements, such as whether exceeding the tolerable weekly intake is an adverse outcome as such; and whether or not subgroup-specific restrictions are problematic. Conclusions: The potential health risks attributable to dioxins in Baltic fish have more than halved in the past 10 years. The new risk assessment issued by the European Food Safety Authority clearly increases the fraction of the population exceeding the tolerable dioxin intake, but nonetheless, quantitative estimates of net health impacts change only marginally. Increased use of small herring (which have less pollutants) is a no-regret option. A more relevant value-based policy discussion rather than research is needed to clarify official recommendations related to dioxins in fish.
  • Thuneberg, H. M.; Salmi, H. S.; Bogner, F. X. (2018)
    An informal mathematical module integrating Arts (modifying STEM to STEAM) and following an inquiry-based learning approach was applied to a sample of 392 students (aged 12-13 years). The three lesson module dealt with mathematical phenomena providing participants with the commercially available hands-on construction kit, aiming to advance STEAM education. Pupils built original, personal, and individual geometrical structures by using plastic pipes in allowing high levels of creativity as well as of autonomy. Tutors supervised the construction process and intervened only on demand. A pre-/ post-test design monitored the cognitive knowledge and the variables of relative autonomy, visual reasoning, formal operations as well as creativity. Our informal intervention produced newly acquired cognitive knowledge which as a process was shown of being supported by a broad basis of (soft) factors as described above. A path analysis elaborated the role of creativity (measured with two subscale: act and flow) to cognitive learning (post-knowledge), when flow was shown to lead. Pre-knowledge scores were significantly influenced by both creativity subscales: act and flow. However, relative autonomy, visual reasoning and formal operations contributed, too. In consequence, cognitive learning within STEAM modules was shown dependent on external triggers. Conclusions for appropriate educational settings to foster STEAM environments are discussed.
  • Lahdenperä, Juulia; Nieminen, Juuso Henrik (2020)
    University mathematics has been described as a setting that has challenges in inviting everyone to be part of the mathematics community. Thus, university mathematics offers an important context for research on belonging. For this study, we utilised a mixed-methods approach to investigate the various ways mathematics students belong or do not belong to the mathematics community. Based on both quantitative and qualitative analyses, three student profiles were identified: Members of the Scientific Community, Members of the Social Community, and Non-Members. The first profile highlights students' belonging to the scientific community, the second profile emphasises belonging to the social community of students, and in the third profile students' responses reflected various ways of not belonging to the mathematics community. In addition, we elaborate on how university mathematics learning environments both promote and hinder students' sense of belonging. Overall, the study broadens the understanding of the ways of belonging in the mathematics context and provides suggestions for teaching to address the issues of exclusion that are currently present in the culture of university mathematics.
  • Partanen, Lauri (2020)
    This paper represents the second contribution from an action research study on a bachelor-level quantum chemistry and spectroscopy course. In the proposed instructional model, active learning principles are extended outside lectures to form a student-centred course structure. The new model resulted in superior learning outcomes compared to a class where active learning elements were limited to course lectures, as demonstrated by previous research. In this article, I try to understand this improvement through an analysis of student motivation and experiences in the framework of self-determination theory. Based on my analysis of student feedback data and interviews, tasks that facilitated direct interaction with peers or course staff were seen as key factors in enhancing learning and motivation. In addition, the presence of various interconnected course components that supported students at different stages of the learning process was experienced as central to learning. Together, these two publications demonstrate that the incorporation of active learning principles outside lectures can substantially improve both learning and motivation.
  • Tuomenvirta, Heikki; Gregow, Hilppa; Harjanne, Atte; Luhtala, Sanna; Mäkelä, Antti; Pilli-Sihvola, Karoliina; Juhola, Sirkku; Hilden, Mikael; Peltonen-Sainio, Pirjo; Miettinen, Ilkka T.; Halonen, Mikko (2019)
    Climate change adaptation (CCA) policies require scientific input to focus on relevant risks and opportunities, to promote effective and efficient measures and ensure implementation. This calls for policy relevant research to formulate salient policy recommendations. This article examines how CCA research may contribute to policy recommendations in the light of idealized set of knowledge production attributes for policy development in Finland. Using general background information on the evolution of CCA research and a case study, we specifically examine how the set of attributes have been manifested in research serving CCA and discuss how they have affected the resulting policy recommendations. We conclude that research serving CCA can be improved by more explicit reflection on the attributes that pay attention to the context of application, the methods of teamwork and a variety of participating organizations, transdisciplinarity of the research, reflexivity based on the values and labour ethos of scientists and novel forms of extended peer review. Such attributes can provide a necessary, although not sufficient, condition for knowledge production that strives to bridge the gap between research and policy.
  • Mammola, Stefano; Fontaneto, Diego; Martinez, Alejandro; Chichorro, Filipe (2021)
    Many believe that the quality of a scientific publication is as good as the science it cites. However, quantifications of how features of reference lists affect citations remain sparse. We examined seven numerical characteristics of reference lists of 50,878 research articles published in 17 ecological journals between 1997 and 2017. Over this period, significant changes occurred in reference lists' features. On average, more recent papers have longer reference lists and cite more high Impact Factor papers and fewer non-journal publications. We also show that highly cited articles across the ecological literature have longer reference lists, cite more recent and impactful references, and include more self-citations. Conversely, the proportion of 'classic' papers and non-journal publications cited, as well as the temporal span of the reference list, have no significant influence on articles' citations. From this analysis, we distill a recipe for crafting impactful reference lists, at least in ecology.
  • Saarikoski, Heli; Primmer, Eeva; Saarela, Sanna-Riikka; Antunes, Paula; Aszalos, Reka; Baro, Francesc; Berry, Pam; Garcia Blanko, Gemma; Gomez-Baggethun, Erik; Carvalho, Laurence; Dick, Jan; Dunford, Robert; Hanzu, Mihail; Harrison, Paula A.; Izakovicova, Zita; Kertesz, Miklos; Kopperoinen, Leena; Kohler, Berit; Langemeyer, Johannes; Lapola, David; Liquete, Camino; Luque, Sandra; Mederly, Peter; Niemelä, Jari; Palomo, Ignacio; Martinez Pastur, Guillermo; Luis Peri, Pablo; Preda, Elena; Priess, Joerg A.; Santos, Rui; Schleyer, Christian; Turkelboom, Francis; Vadineanu, Angheluta; Verheyden, Wim; Vikstrom, Suvi; Young, Juliette (2018)
    The promise that ecosystem service assessments will contribute to better decision-making is not yet proven. We analyse how knowledge on ecosystem services is actually used to inform land and water management in 22 case studies covering different social-ecological systems in European and Latin American countries. None of the case studies reported instrumental use of knowledge in a sense that ecosystem service knowledge would have served as an impartial arbiter between policy options. Yet, in most cases, there was some evidence of conceptual learning as a result of close interaction between researchers, practitioners and stakeholders. We observed several factors that constrained knowledge uptake, including competing interests and political agendas, scientific disputes, professional norms and competencies, and lack of vertical and horizontal integration. Ecosystem knowledge played a small role particularly in those planning and policy-making situations where it challenged established interests and the current distribution of benefits from ecosystems. The factors that facilitated knowledge use included application of transparent participatory methods, social capital, policy champions and clear synergies between ecosystem services and human well-being. The results are aligned with previous studies which have emphasized the importance of building local capacity, ownership and trust for the long-term success of ecosystem service research. (C) 2017 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V.
  • Kukkonen, Anna Kristiina; Ylä-Anttila, Matti Tuomas; Swarnakar, Pradip; Broadbent, Jeffrey; Lahsen, Myanna; Stoddart, Mark C.J. (2018)
    National climate policies are shaped by international organizations (IOs) and global norms. Drawing from World Society Theory and the Advocacy Coalition Framework (ACF), we develop two related arguments: (1) one way in which IOs can influence national climate policy is through their engagement in mass-mediated national policy debates and (2) national organizations involved in the policy process may form advocacy coalitions to support or oppose the norms promoted by IOs. To examine the role of IOs in national policy debates and the coalitions that support and oppose them, we use discourse network analysis (DNA) on over 3500 statements in 11 newspapers in Canada, the United States (US), Brazil, and India. We find that in the high-income countries that are high per capita emitters (Canada and the US), IOs are less central in the policy debates and the discourse network is strongly clustered into competing advocacy coalitions. In the lower-income countries that are low per capita emitters (Brazil and India), IOs are more central and the discourse network is less clustered. Relating these findings to earlier research, we suggest that the differences we find between high and low per capita emitters may be to some extent generalizable to the relevant country groups beyond our four cases.