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Posted: March 8th, 2020

Attitudes towards Air Pollution among University Students

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Research Proposal

  1. Research specific topic

The topic of the study is “Attitudes towards Air Pollution among University Students”.

  1. Rationale of the study

Ramanathan & Feng (2009) claim that “Every part of the world is connected with every other part through fast atmospheric transport.” This has made us think that the negative effects of air pollution will not only happen in one region, but also take place in other areas. Air pollution causes many side effects on health, environment and economy. According to the WHO, in 2012, 7 million people died as a result of air pollution. Moreover, the WHO assessment found the majority of air pollution deaths were linked with cardiovascular disease, heart disease, stock, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and lung cancer. We feel that not so many people concern of this issue. Consequently, we decide to conduct a research on the topic of “Attitudes toward Air Pollution among University Students” as we believe that university students may have studied some subjects regarding to this problem. In addition, the major reason that encouraged us to conduct a research on this topic is to discover how much university students know about air pollution. Another factor is to explore the effective methods that university students can think of to prevent themselves from the negative effects of air pollution. On top of that, providing the best solution to solve the entire problem by university students is also another main purpose of doing this research. The research finding will help to encourage university students to get involved more in this problem and spread the information to the public so that more people will join in addressing this issue.

  1. Research aim

The aim of the study is to know about attitudes towards air pollution among university students.

  1. Research objectives and research questions
  • Research objectives
  • To find out the university students’ perception towards air pollution
  • To determine the ways that students can prevent themselves from the negative effects of air pollution
  • To ascertain the solutions that university students can think of to address this issue
  • Research questions
  • How do university students think about air pollution?
  • How can university students prevent themselves from the negative effects of air pollution?
  • What are the solutions to this issue raised by university students?
  1. Literature review
    1. Operational definition

“Air pollution was defined as the presence in the outdoor and /or indoor atmosphere of one or more contaminants or combinations thereof in such questions and of such duration as maybe or may tend to be injurious to human, plant or animal life, or property or which unreasonably interferes with the comfortable enjoyment of life or property or the conduct of business” (Wark, K., et al 1998). Attitude is a feeling or opinion about something or someone.

  1. Theoretical framework

Among the most pressing of today’s environmental issues is the pollution of the air we breathe, that the world is concerning about. There are many countries that are affected and some are being put on. “More than 10 million people in eight different countries are at

serious risk for health because they live in the polluted places” (West, 2014). Therefore, it has become a problem which many researchers have been studying and finding the causes as well as the solution. According to the Environmental protection Agency, there are a great number of types of air pollution such as pollution from industries, vehicles, stationary items etc. This shows that air pollution is really a concerning issue that we cannot ignore, and more research about the solution is needed to enhance the understanding of it. Some people have already known about air pollution. Groot (1967) claims that “In the most recently completed study; however, a cross-sample of the whole United States revealed that 48% of all people thought air pollution to be at least a somewhat serious problem for their area of residence.”

More importantly, some researchers tend to conduct a research on the attitude of students towards air pollution, which is an attractive factor. The study on students’ attitudes has been carrying out to explore the factors which provoke to find out the solution because they may have studied about environment. “Research has shown that university students who have studied courses specializing in the environment maintain more pro-environmental attitudes than other students” (Meinhold & Malkus 2005). “It was also found that demographic factors such as gender and years of education may have some influence on one’s attitude and pro-environmental behaviors” (Fernandez Rodriguze, & Carrasquier, 2007; Tuncer, Ertepinar, Tekaya, & Carrasquier, 2007). After realizing about this, researchers can go further to identify how university students think about air pollution. Some university

students have expressed their concern about air pollution. Al. Rabaani & Al-Mekhlafi (2009) claim that “Air pollution is a problem which has recently become a cause of concern, due to accelerated economic development, an increase in transportation; this may account for students’ increasing concern with the problem.” We have tried to find the other researchers’ finding about the perceptions of university students toward air pollution, the methods to prevent themselves from the negative effects of air pollution and their solutions to solve the problem, but we can find only their perceptions.

  1. Conceptual framework

The study will focus on only attitudes of university students towards air pollution since we still believe that university students’ perception will lead other university students and people to get involved more in this problem. Meinhold & Malkus (2005) claim that university pupils doing the course related to environment have expressed more reactions toward air pollution than those who do not. Demographic factors such as gender and years of education may make one’s reaction and pro-environmental behaviors vary” (Fernandez Rodriguze, & Carrasquier, 2007; Tuncer, Ertepinar, Tekaya, & Carrasquier, 2007).The accelerated economic development and the rise of transportation have made air pollution become and increase university’s concern (Al. Rabaani & Al-Mekhlafi, 2009).

  1. The research instrument

Within this research, questionnaire will be used as the tool for data collection. The reason we finally select questionnaire is that it is easier than conducting interview with respondents; they just read the questions, interpret what is expected then write down their answers. In addition, students at IFL who will be respondents are busy with their study, so they do not have enough time to be interviewed.

The questionnaire consists of three sections. The first section is about the respondents’ sex, age, statue, the living condition, and how they travel. The second section focus on whether they concern about air pollution or not. The last section is about their attitude to air pollution, how it occurs and how to solve the problem.

We predict that the questionnaire will take time around 10 minutes because we think that they will have enough time to think deeply to understand the questions. Some students will probably just answer the questions while others may broaden their information.

However, we might face some problems; some of them might just tick the answers and some just keeping blank on the answer spaces because they may think that it is a waste of time. Therefore, if that case happens, we will have to look for others to reach our 200 respondents. We will provide the questionnaires for the other class, but this time we will increase 5 minutes more for them to answer the questions.

  1. Respondents

The study population of this research is the undergraduate students from year two to year three at the Department of English, Institute of Foreign Languages, Royal University of Phnom Penh. The reason is that the courses at IFL provide topics about environment and there are many programs that are related to the saving environment like clean up day etc. The total sample size is 100 students, who are 50 students in year two and 50 students in year three and studying in the morning shift.

  1. Data-collecting procedures

The questionnaires will be carried out directly at Institute of Foreign Languages (IFL). Participants will be provided the questions before the break time in their classrooms. For the

data collecting process, we will divide our members into two different groups and each group has two members. Group one will be responsible for year two students and group two for year three students. Each member in the group will be waiting for respondents to finish their answers and help students to understand the questions. However, before we provide questionnaire, we will have to ask for permission from the lecturers first.

  1. Data-processing procedures

After collecting the data, SPSS and C++ program, which are programs for statistic tasks, will be used to analyze data.


Al-Rabaani, A. & Al-Mekhlafi, S. (2009). Attitudes of Sultan Qaboos University Students

Towards Some Environmental Problems And Their Willingness To Take Action To

Reduce Them. Journal of Social Sciences, 5, 9-15 Retrieved from

/pdf/ 10.3844/jssp.2009.9.15 on June 14, 2014

Groot, I.(1967). Trends in Public Attitudes Towards Air Pollution, Journal of the Air

Pollution Control Association, 17:10, 679-681. Retrieved from com/doi/pdf /10.1080/00022470.10469056 on June 14, 2014

Briggs, H. (2014, March 25). Air Pollution Linked to Seven Million People Globally. BBC

News Health Retrieved from on April 25, 2014

World Bank (2002). The Health and Economic Impacts of Air Pollution. How serious is the impact of air pollution on public health? Retrieved from on May 10, 2014

West, L. (2014). The Top 10 Worst Polluted Places on Earth. Environmental Issues Retrieved from on May 15, 2014

Ramanathan, V. & Feng, Y.(2009). Air Pollution, Greenhouse Gases And Climate Change:

Global and Regional Perspectives. Atmospheric Environment, 43, 37-50 Retrieved from on April 1, 2014


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