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Table 1 Exemplary aspects of the BUW potentially initiating socioscientific decision-making

From: Fostering students’ socioscientific decision-making: exploring the effectiveness of an environmental science competition

Extracts from the BUW-guidelinePractical implementationsConnection to the development of decision-making
“On a personal level, what does this issue mean to you?” (p.14)Reflect upon individual and societal values and normsValues and norms (on a personal as well as on a societal level) are implicitly embedded in SSI. They need to be considered when making an informed decision (e.g., Eggert & Bögeholz, 2006).
“What has been done so far to solve the issue?” (p.15)
The BUW encourages “to develop solutions based on theoretical considerations and to put them into practice” (p.4)
Available information needs to be assessed, possible courses of action need to be evaluatedDecisions in the context of sustainability-related issues are complex and involve the assessment of various information from different stakeholders (e.g., Sartori, Da Silva, & Capos, 2014).
“If you had to decide between different courses of action, reason your choice of action” (p.15)Decide between (equally conceivable) courses of actionSSI are complex and ill-structured. Corresponding decision situations display a set of possible options that need to be decided upon (e.g., Arvai, Campbell, Baird, & Rivers, 2004; Jungermann et al., 2005; Siegel, 2006).
“The task [of this competition] is to examine a local environmental issue and to research the cause and its connections” (p.4)Choose a local, environmental issueGlobal SSI, which cannot be experienced within the local environment, might be too abstract for students. However, once the issue is locally interconnected “the problems become immanent and complicated with personal, economic, political and social factors” (Jho, Yoon, & Kim, 2014, p.1147). This place-based notion can help students to connect and engage with the SSI on a personal level (Herman, Zeidler, & Newton, 2018; Zeidler, Herman, & Sadler, 2019).
You can take part “individually or in teams” (p.5)Different perspectives, opinions, and solution approaches need to be discussed when working collaborativelyThe ability to acknowledge different perspectives is a vital element of informed decision-making and reasoning in SSI (e.g., Kahn & Zeidler, 2019).
“You should generate a theoretical and practical overview, […], do experiments […] and transfer knowledge into action” (p.4)Inquiry-based and self-regulated learning environmentInquiry-based learning activities can require students to make sensible decisions (Pedaste et al., 2015). The perceived autonomy in self-regulated learning environments encourages decision-making (Stefanou et al., 2004).