Challenges in measuring “connectedness to nature” among indigenous children: lessons from the Negev Bedouin

Wisam Sedawi, Orit Ben Zvi Assaraf, Michael J. Reiss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Culturally adapted tools for measuring connectedness to nature are important, since attitudes and perceptions toward nature cannot be universalized. They are influenced by a wide range of factors, like individuals’ experience in their home environment, safety concerns and a variety of other sociocultural factors. The purpose of this paper is to introduce a model for a cultural adaptation process, through which suitable nature connectedness questionnaires can be created. Our approach is based on “Third Space Theory,” which laid the groundwork for the development of culturally adapted questionnaires that combine Western categories for measuring nature connectedness with elements that specifically reflect the local culture of an indigenous community. The paper details the adaptation process of a questionnaire designed to learn about the nature connectedness of 5th grade students living in unrecognized Bedouin villages in the Negev Desert. The process enlisted the input of 58 fifth grade students (28 boys and 30 girls) and four professionals from the fields of education and environmental education. It incorporated two different types of interviews, personal, semi-structured interviews, and interviews with small groups of students as they orally completed different iterations of the questionnaire. Thematic content analysis was conducted to reveal the various sociocultural aspects of the relationship between Bedouin children and their natural environment. The results of the paper include: (a) the seven-stage development process of the culturally adapted nature connectedness questionnaire, and (b) examples of the types of information that the culturally adapted questionnaire reveals, which a standard nature connectedness questionnaire might not provide.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)193-229
Number of pages37
JournalCultural Studies of Science Education
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2021


  • Connectedness to nature
  • Cultural adaptation
  • Indigenous
  • Third space

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cultural Studies


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