Date of Award

2019

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Marine Affairs

Department

Marine Affairs

First Advisor

Amelia Moore

Abstract

The objective of this work was to conduct a qualitative pilot study investigating the change in youth perceptions of single-use plastic straws before and after an educational intervention. To achieve this goal six female students, ranging from 12 to 14 years old, were interviewed on their knowledge about single-use plastic straws, their frequency of use, and their general understanding of current environmental issues. They were then shown two educational videos pertaining to the history of single-use plastic straws and their current usage status. After one week students were interviewed again and asked questions to reflect on the information shown to them and how it related to their own lives. The two interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed verbatim, and thematically coded. From the differences in themes found in the data, it was determined there was a general shift in how the students perceived their own straw use as well as an increase in awareness of straws in their daily lives. Although this study had many limitations, overall, there was a general increase in student awareness of single-use plastic straws. This pilot study methodology can serve as a baseline for future work involving youth perceptions on specific environmental concerns.

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