Results for Nature of science
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Jakobsson, A., Mäkitalo, Å. & Säljö, R. (2009). Conceptions of knowledge in research on students' understanding of the greenhouse effect. Science Education, 93(6), 978–995.

This study suggests that the assessment of students’ understanding of scientific vocabulary, concepts, and reasoning associated with the greenhouse effect may be better accomplished by observing and understanding learners’ developing language use over time. The indication of previous research that students hold tenacious misconceptions may be an artifact of the questionnaires used. The authors argue that listening to student conversations is the key to better recognize learning. This paper can help ISE educators think more deeply about how and when to assess for student understanding, including considering most appropriate and informative methods.


Hsu, P. L., van Eijck, M., & Roth, W. M. (2010). Students' representations of scientific practice during a science internship: Reflections from an activity-theoretic perspective. International Journal of Science Education, 32(9), 1243–1266.

In this study, students who participated in science internships were found to gain a better understanding of authentic science but did not have complete representations of scientific practice. Students' communication within presentations was seen to be mediated by the audience they were presenting to and what they perceived to be important. Consequently, students reported stereotypical images of science. This paper might be of interest to ISE educators developing lab and internship programs for students.


Kirch, S. A. (2009). Identifying and resolving uncertainty as a mediated action in science: A comparative analysis of the cultural tools used by scientists and elementary science students at work. Science Education, 95, 308–335.

This study compares scientific practices in a research laboratory and a second grade classroom. Through conversation analysis, the author found that in both settings similar processes were followed to establish a mutual understanding about what was seen, done and concluded in a collaborative investigation. The author shows how “mutual understanding” differs from “agreement,” and suggests ways to structure science inquiry activities that can engage young children with the tentative nature of science while helping them to resolve discrepant procedures, observations or interpretations.


Akerson, V., & Donnelly, L. A. (2010). Teaching nature of science to K-2 students: What understandings can they attain? International Journal of Science Education, 32(1), 97–124.

This paper describes a Saturday science program for K-2 students designed to enhance their understanding of the nature of science. Teaching strategies were used to explicitly address all the elements of NOS—the role of empirical data, the distinction between observation and inference, the creative processes of science, the subjective (theory-laden) nature of research, and the tentative (though robust) NOS knowledge.


Feinstein, N. (2011). Salvaging science literacy. Science Education, 95(1), 168–185.

The value of science literacy is often taken for granted on the grounds that some understanding of science is useful for all students, not just those who will become scientists. In this paper, the author considers whether science literacy, as traditionally imagined, is actually useful. The paper includes a summary of current perspectives on science literacy, all of which, he argues, aim to produce marginal insiders: people who have had a glimpse of science content and process but no sense of how to connect science with their everyday lives. The author argues for a new perspective on science literacy that integrates research on “public engagement with science” with research on science education. According to this new perspective, school, agencies, and ISEs should help people become competent outsiders with respect to science: people who recognize when science is relevant to their lives and can interact with sources of scientific expertise to help them achieve their own goals.


Fields, D, A. (2009). What do students gain from a week at science camp? Youth perceptions and the design of immersive research-orientated astronomy camp. International Journal of Science Education, 31(2), 151–171.

Using Gee’s (2004) notion of ‘affinity spaces’ – places where people collaboratively interact in response to a common interest or affinity – this paper examines how a week-long astronomy camp can shape student self-identities. The paper also examines the design of the camp and notes that it successfully blends the ‘student-led research’ approach with the ‘cognitive-apprenticeship model’.


Brewer, P. R., & Ley, B. L. (2013). Whose science do you believe? Explaining trust in sources of scientific information about the environment. Science Communication, 35(1), 115–137. doi:10.1177/1075547012441691

Brewer and Ley surveyed 851 participants in a U.S. city and revealed relationships among demographic characteristics, religious beliefs, political views, and trust in multiple forms of science communication sources.


van der Veen, J. (2012). Draw your physics homework? Art as a path to understanding in physics teaching. American Educational Research Journal, 49(2), 356–407.

This paper describes the potential benefits of incorporating art into physics education. Drawing and sculpture provide a way of understanding abstract concepts. The process may also allow educators to “humanize” physics and thus make it more accessible to historically marginalized groups.


Avraamidou, L., & Osborne, J. (2009). The role of narrative in communicating science. International Journal of Science Education, 31(12), 1683–1707.

In this paper, the authors advocate the use of narrative (fictional written text) as a way of making science meaningful and accessible. They note that conventional scientific language can be off-putting to learners, but that content delivered through a story or narrative format can be more familiar and more memorable. This paper will be of interest to ISE educators exploring different modes of science engagement.


Wong, S. L. & Hodson, D. (2009). From the horse’s mouth: What scientists say about scientific investigation and scientific knowledge. Science Education, 93(1), 1–22.

ISE professionals should find this paper useful in understanding how scientists view the nature of science (NOS). Through interviews, the researchers have enabled a view of science as a flexible, creative and continually developing knowledge enterprise, in contrast to the regimented, experiment-driven scientific method that is most often taught in schools. The authors believe that teaching authentic NOS will certainly aid in enthusing students to learn science and take initiatives in scientific problem solving.