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An exploratory case study of Olympiad students’ attitudes towards and passion for science

Oliver, Mary; Venville, Grady


Professor of Science Education

Grady Venville


Much is known about high school students’ attitudes towards science but there is almost no research on what passion for science might look like and how it might be manifested. This exploratory case study took advantage of a unique group of highly gifted science students participating in the Australian Science Olympiad (n=69) to explore their attitudes towards school science and science as presented in the Olympiad summer camp. In particular the role the summer camp might play in igniting the students’ passion for science was a focus of the research. Data were collected through a two tiered survey of students’ attitudes towards school science, an evaluative survey of the Olympiad summer camp and in-depth interviews with six participants. Findings indicated that Olympiad students generally had positive attitudes towards school science with most selecting science as one of their favourite subjects. However, an underlying ambivalence about school science was noted in the data. In contrast, the Olympiad summer camp transformed students’ positive attitudes into passion for science. Seven themes emerged from the data providing a foundation for a model of what academic passion for science looks like.


Oliver, M., & Venville, G. (2011). An exploratory case study of Olympiad students’ attitudes towards and passion for science. International Journal of Science Education, 33(16), doi:10.1080/09500693.2010.550654

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Apr 21, 2011
Deposit Date Jan 20, 2015
Publicly Available Date Jan 20, 2015
Journal International Journal of Science Education
Print ISSN 0950-0693
Electronic ISSN 0950-0693
Publisher Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 33
Issue 16
Keywords Passion, Olympiad, Science
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis Group in International Journal of Science Education on 21/04/2011, available online:


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