Coláiste Pobail Osraí are reponsible for four of Kilkenny’s five entries into this year’s Young Scientist competition. The projects are as follows:
An Investigation Into the Difference Between Perceptions and Reality of Teenage Sexual Activity by Chelsea de Paor, Amy Dewberry and Aisling NicCraith
The group has carried out a very interesting investigation into the reality and perception of teenage behaviour. They carried out anonymous surveys in a number of secondary schools across the country. Their findings indicate that teenagers perceptions of the prevalence of sexual behaviours is far in excess of the reality. This misinformation is likely to impose a kind of indirect peer-pressure and stress on individuals who are not engaging in these activities but who believe that ‘everyone else is’. Interestingly they also found that sexual activity was less prevalent in situations where there were frequent arguments between the teenagers and their parents. Maybe parents should take heart! They found converse results for underage binge drinking with perceptions greatly under representing the reality. Studies such as this are important so that the extent of the problem are fully appreciated.
An Investigation Into the Relative Impact of Bottom-up or Top-down Approaches to Social Change – Spoken Irish as a Case Study” by Rónán Butler and Alan Cullen
The group were interested in ways in which society can be changed. They found out that there are two main approaches: top down (formal) or bottom up (informal). The case study they chose was the Irish language as spoken in All-Irish secondary schools. The first step was to develop a scientific method for measuring the amount of spoken Irish. Then they looked at how the management practices of different schools influenced the amount of Irish spoken in those schools. They also looked at what happened when they changed the approaches to the management of Irish. Their findings highlight the influence that even a small number of individuals can have on society and that bottom up or informal approaches are best.
What Effect Would Carbon Labelling Have on Consumer Choice, CO2 Emission and Local Economy” by Tiernan Shaw, Aoibheann Ní Chonchubhair and Ruairi Heddon
The group were interested in energy conservation and global warming. After considering a number of options they settled on carbon labelling as a low cost effective method for reducing emissions of greenhouse gases. They investigated the behaviour of shoppers who were provided with carbon information on the label or not. They found that greenhouse gas emissions from the fruit and veg sector would be reduced by a third if the labelling was installed. Furthermore, they found that 35% more money would be spent on Irish products rather than imported products. This would represent a massive potential injection for the local economy.
An Investigation of the Moral Compasses of General and Prison Populations and the Effect of Rehabilitation” by Caoilfhionn Ní Argáin, Jilly Ní Dhonnabháinn and Aisling Ní Bhroin
The group looked at whether prisoners had a different moral compass than non-prisoners. They used ethical dilemmas to investigate peoples innate responses to situations where they were presented with the option of carrying out a small evil to prevent a larger one or for the greater good. They also looked at people’s responses to dilemmas where they were presented with various selfless or selfish options.