What does democracy mean to 14-year-old Turkish children? A comparison with results of the 1999 IEA Civic Education Study

Doganay A.

RESEARCH PAPERS IN EDUCATION, cilt.25, ss.51-71, 2010 (SSCI İndekslerine Giren Dergi) identifier identifier

  • Cilt numarası: 25 Konu: 1
  • Basım Tarihi: 2010
  • Doi Numarası: 10.1080/02671520802315060
  • Sayfa Sayıları: ss.51-71


The scores of Turkish students on the international tests such as TIMMS and PISA, which assess basic science concepts, reading and problem-solving abilities, are among the lowest. Although understanding the concept of democracy has been studied across the countries, it has not been clearly researched in Turkey. For this reason, the focus of this study was to investigate the perceptions of 14-year-old Turkish students and to compare the findings with the results of a 1999 IEA Civic Education Study, which was conducted in 28 countries. In addition, the relationship between some selected independent variables and the perception of democracy of Turkish 14-year-old students was investigated. The survey method was used in this study. The sample consisted of 495 eighth-grade students who were selected randomly from schools having different socio-economic status. The Student Background Questionnaire, which was developed by the researcher, was used to measure students' individual and socio-economic background characteristics. The Fourteen-Year-Old students' Perception of Democracy Questionnaire, which was adopted from the IEA Civic Education Study, was used to collect data about the students' perceptions of democracy. The findings demonstrated that Turkish 14-year-old students do not have a clear understanding of the democratic concept. Although their perception of democracy includes some important principles, they have negative thoughts about some of its key elements. The degree of support for democracy was found to be weaker among Turkish 14-year-olds when compared with the 14-year-olds of 28 other countries in the 1999 IEA Civic Education Study. It can be drawn from the results that gender, parents' education and perceived socio-economic level have an influence on the perception of democracy for Turkish eighth-graders.