Title page for ETD etd-04112007-113225

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Charpentier, Tristi Bercegeay
Author's Email Address tberce1@lsu.edu
URN etd-04112007-113225
Title The Portrayal of Science in Children's Television
Degree Master of Mass Communication (M.M.C.)
Department Mass Communication
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Lisa K. Lundy Committee Chair
Andrea L. Miller Committee Member
Anne C. Osborne Committee Member
  • children's television
  • cultivation theory
  • social cognitive theory
Date of Defense 2007-03-30
Availability unrestricted
Scholars argue that a scientifically literate public is a requirement for a democracy. Children are watching television more today than ever before, and studies have shown that children learn academically educational content from television. The Children's Television Act of 1990 requires broadcasters to provide educational and informational content for children. This study qualitatively evaluated a sample of 38 children's television programs to obtain a description of the scientific content contained in children's television. The study yielded a large quantity of scientific content, yet the quality of the content left much to be desired. Based on the findings of this study, science in children's television can be divided into two categories: exposures and lessons. Scientific content contains both fact and fiction, and a mixture of the two. Science is generally looked upon favorably in children's television; it's just not brought up enough. The major scientific topics covered were life sciences and earth and space sciences; other topics were mentioned at a much lower rate. In comparing the number of programs containing scientific content, the cable channels outperformed the networks. Possible remedies are discussed, as well as the limitations and possible further research.
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