Brittany Bondi '19
Salma Monani, Department of Environmental Studies
Sarah Principato, Department of Environmental Studies
Christopher Barlett, Department of Psychology
Date of Creation
Purpose: The aim of this paper is to evaluate the effectiveness of film in communicating issues related to climate change. While previous studies demonstrate an immediate effect of a film post-screening, this study also considered if a film can inspire long-term effects, and if supplemental educational information plays a role on participant understanding.
Design/methodology/approach: Using surveys, we assessed undergraduate students’ climate change responses pre-, immediately-post, and 9-weeks post watching the climate change documentary The Human Element (Prod. Earth Vision Institute, 2018). In the 9-week interim before the final survey, half of the participants received weekly information on climate change via a custom website, while the other half served as a control. Nonparametric statistical tests were completed in SPSS to determine significant changes across all three surveys.
Findings: Friedman tests and Wilcoxon Signed Ranks tests demonstrate statistically significant self-reported impacts on climate change responses such as of motivation, concern, and understanding immediately post-screening. At 9-weeks, 3 × 2 Mixed ANOVAs demonstrate that the group that received the website reported statistically significantly higher understanding than those in the control group. However, the website has no statistically significant effect on other responses like motivation and concern.
Originality/value: These results highlight the important power of film’s visual appeals in framing climate change. We also show that there is a long term effect of film on participant understanding. The study also prompts questions about current models of climate change education, which emphasize objective understanding, often without viable support structures to help students’ concern and motivation to act.
This is the author's version of the work. This publication appears in Gettysburg College's institutional repository by permission of the copyright owner for personal use, not for redistribution.
Bondi, Brittany, Salma Monani, Sarah Principato, and Christopher Barlett. "Examining the Impact of Climate Change Film as an Educational Tool." Applied Environmental Education & Communication (2020).
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