Critical thinking in Norwegian upper secondary biology education: The cases of complementary-alternative-medicine and health claims in the media

  • Sverre Pettersen Høyskolen i Oslo og Akershus


By definition, complementary alternative medicine (CAM) treatments are not scientifically proven. Scientific deficient health claiming news seems to flourish in the media. The aims of this questionnaire study was to explore: (1) attitudes towards CAM among 3rd year students of the health sciences in Norway, who either have immersed themselves in the 2nd and 3rd year upper secondary biology courses, or taken the 1st year compulsory natural science course, exclusively, and (2) these students’ skills in requesting for scientific information in highly deficient health news briefs. There were no significant differences in the frequencies of positive attitude towards the use of CAM treatments between the two health sciences student categories, and most students in both categories “failed” in the test set out to measure their skills in requesting for scientific information in four highly scientific deficient health news briefs. The results suggest that teaching of the Norwegian upper secondary biology courses does probably not contribute extensively to pupils’ development of scepticism towards CAM, and skills in evaluating health claims, scientifically.