Methodology


Surveying a small sample of students was one method of data collection. The questionnaire explored the extent of students' knowledge of nuclear power and their sources of information about the subject. The survey also determined the demographics of the students and their opinions and concerns regarding the use of nuclear power as a source of energy. This information also was gathered as means of determining whether the media influences students' opinions about nuclear power.

Even though only a small number of surveys were given in the Writing for Agriculture and Natural Resources class at the University of Florida, the diversity of the majors and interests of the students offered a wide variety of opinions and responses. Thirty questionnaires were distributed and 23 were returned for analysis. The demographics of the group included 16 females and 7 males, ranging in ages from 18-24. Only two students were not from the state of Florida. The majority of the students' majors were of a science or agricultural nature. However, about 20 percent were studying recreation, hotel management, tourism and human resource development. The original hypothesis was only slightly supported by the questionnaire and will be discussed later in this report.

Another method of data collection was the Internet. Searching in Altavista under "nuclear power", "public opinion" and "nuclear power + surveys" revealed extensive information on the pros and cons of nuclear power, public perceptions about the issue and other important types of information. Statistics on how nuclear power ranks among other sources of energy regarding cost and environmental hazards were also discovered on the Internet. Other books and articles used in researching this issue were found at Library West on the University of Florida campus.

The discoveries made from all sources were carefully considered, analyzed and compiled into the final conclusions.