Photo of Carol WhiteCarol White
School Tutor


Utilising the Science of Space Exploration:

Presentation DPhil Conference Day 2008

Research Interests

My thesis research investigates the persistent decline in the number of UK science graduates that has given rise to a number of nationwide initiatives. Among them are the summer space schools which utilise space exploration to encourage young people into science as a career. While there is evidence, mainly anecdotal, of an inspirational and motivating effect in participants co-incident with program attendance, sustaining science interest over time is questionable. This is an important aspect of educational intervention programs seeking to influence career choices. Several years might elapse between exposure to a program and considering further and higher education options. If returning to the home community post-program sees a return to social norms where science interest is a minority interest and there is little or no support to reinforce program influence, motivation for science may be short-lived.

The research uses learning, behavioural, social change and motivational theory to help to understand  behaviour and motivation with the aim to develop methodological tools as short-term indicators to gauge program effectiveness over the longer term.

Report for UK Space Agency

Following an invitation from the newly formed UK Space Agency a ten thousand word unpublished report based on the research findings was produced in 2010 to help inform their educational approach.   

Further interests

Beyond educational matters, further interests include the application and potential of social and behavioural change theories in a range of social situations such as health, nutrition, environmental and energy issues where developing an understanding of consumer attitudes, behaviour and motivation is important in determining social policy and activities. Her article 'Crisis Leadership and the Art of Denial' was published in Excursions Journal  Vol 3, No 1 (2012)