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How “scientific” is science education research?

Published on Jan 1, 2009in Journal of Research in Science Teaching 3.13
· DOI :10.1002/tea.20328
Anton E. Lawson41
Estimated H-index: 41
(ASU: Arizona State University)
The research articles published in the Journal of Research in Science Teaching in 1965, 1975, 1985, 1995, and in 2005 were surveyed to discover the extent to which they were theory driven. Carey and Smith's theory of the development of science epistemologies was used to frame the study. Specifically their theory posits that science epistemologies develop through three developmental levels. Persons at Level 1 view science as an inductive and descriptive enterprise. Persons at Level 2 view science in terms of hypothesis generation and test. Persons at Level 3 see science as theory driven. That is, theories are generated and their postulates are tested via planned tests with predicted consequences and theories are used to generate specific hypotheses, which in turn are tested in a similar manner. Three computer-generated surveys were conducted on each article identifying articles that contained the words theory, hypothesis, and prediction. The surveys assumed that if the reported research was guided by Level 3 epistemology, then these key terms would be likely to appear somewhere in the article. The term theory was found in only 18.0% of the 1965 articles. Percentages increased in subsequent decades, that is, to 36.5% in 1975, to 44.3% in 1985, to 58.3% in 1995, and then to 86.7% in 2005. Similar, though less dramatic, increases were also found for the terms hypothesis and prediction. Relatively few articles contained two or all three of the terms. Nevertheless, analysis of all 45 research articles appearing in 2005 revealed that most authors were generating and testing hypotheses and/or theories (presumably guided by Levels 2 or 3 epistemology) albeit in a largely implicit and sometimes inconsistent way. Suggestions for improving the quality of research and its reporting are made. © 2009 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Res Sci Teach 47:257–275, 2010
  • References (31)
  • Citations (11)
Published on Jan 1, 2009in Science Education 2.90
Anton E. Lawson41
Estimated H-index: 41
(ASU: Arizona State University)
Allchin (2006) has misinterpreted a classic case of hypothetico-deductive (HD) science in terms of his preferred ‘let’s-gather-some-data-and-see-what-emerges’ view. The misrepresentation concerns the research program of Peter and Rosemary Grant on Darwin’s finches. The present essay argues that the Grants’ research is HD in nature and includes a statement by Peter Grant to that effect.
Published on Oct 1, 2006in Journal of Research in Science Teaching 3.13
Carol L. Smith17
Estimated H-index: 17
(University of Massachusetts Boston),
Laura Wenk1
Estimated H-index: 1
(Hampshire College)
At the start of their first semester, 35 college freshmen were given an interview probing (a) their differentiation of scientists' ideas from evidence, and hypotheses from theories; (b) their understanding of the inherent uncertainty of scientific knowledge; and (c) their reasoning about scientific controversies. The most common responses were in terms of an epistemology in which scientists' ideas and evidence are differentiated, and theories are understood as tested hypotheses (Level 2 in our s...
Published on Mar 1, 2006in Science Education 2.90
Anton E. Lawson41
Estimated H-index: 41
(ASU: Arizona State University)
Published on Feb 1, 2006in Science Education 2.90
Douglas Allchin17
Estimated H-index: 17
(UMN: University of Minnesota)
Lawson’s (Lawson, A.: 2004, Science & Education, 13, 155–177) analysis of the meteorite hypothesis of dinosaur extinction exhibits flaws similar to his earlier (2002) analysis of Galileo’s discovery of Jupiter’s moons (Allchin, D.: 2003, Science & Education, 12, 315–329).
Published on May 1, 2005in Journal of Research in Science Teaching 3.13
Xiufeng Liu19
Estimated H-index: 19
(UB: University at Buffalo),
Anne McKeough12
Estimated H-index: 12
(U of C: University of Calgary)
The aim of this study was to develop a model of students' energy concept development. Applying Case's (1985, 1992) structural theory of cognitive development, we hypothesized that students' concept of energy undergoes a series of transitions, corresponding to systematic increases in working memory capacity. The US national sample from the Third International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) database was used to test our hypothesis. Items relevant to the energy concept in the TIMSS test book...
Published on Apr 1, 2005in Journal of Research in Science Teaching 3.13
Jayne E. Stake26
Estimated H-index: 26
(UMSL: University of Missouri–St. Louis),
Kenneth R. Mares2
Estimated H-index: 2
(UMSL: University of Missouri–St. Louis)
The impact of summer science-enrichment programs on high-school students' science motivation and confidence was evaluated in a 7-month period following program completion. The programs took place on a college campus. The splashdown effect was defined as program-related changes the program graduates recognized in themselves that became apparent to them after reentry to their home high school. The effect was studied in a group of 88 gifted girls and boys from 38 high schools. On qualitative and qu...
Published on Mar 1, 2005in Journal of Research in Science Teaching 3.13
Peggy Cuevas5
Estimated H-index: 5
(UM: University of Miami),
Okhee Lee38
Estimated H-index: 38
(UM: University of Miami)
+ 1 AuthorsRachael Deaktor4
Estimated H-index: 4
(Princeton University)
This study examined the impact of an inquiry-based instructional intervention on (a) children's ability to conduct science inquiry overall and to use specific skills in inquiry, and (b) narrowing the gaps in children's ability among demographic subgroups of students. The intervention consisted of instructional units, teacher workshops, and classroom practices. The study involved 25 third- and fourth- grade students from six elementary schools representing diverse linguistic and cultural groups. ...
Published on Mar 1, 2005in Journal of Research in Science Teaching 3.13
Cheryl B. McCarthy1
Estimated H-index: 1
(WCUPA: West Chester University of Pennsylvania)
Institutions of higher education, states, and local K–12 districts have been challenged to improve math and science education for our nation's students. In the past few years, there has been renewed interest in inquiry-based, activity-oriented instruction in science for students with disabilities. Yet, there still exists the need for further empirical evidence to support instructional improvements for students with more involved emotional and behavioral disabilities. This study describes a progr...
Published on Feb 1, 2005in Journal of Research in Science Teaching 3.13
Sadhana Puntambekar18
Estimated H-index: 18
(UW: University of Wisconsin-Madison),
Janet L. Kolodner39
Estimated H-index: 39
(Georgia Institute of Technology)
In this article, we present two studies that helped us understand the kinds of support that students need to learn science successfully from design activities. Both were enacted in the context of an approach to learning science from design called learning by design (LBD). In our first study, we designed and integrated a paper-and-pencil scaffolding tool, the design diary, into an LBD unit to support students' design-related activities. We learned two important lessons from the first study. First...
Published on Feb 1, 2005in Journal of Research in Science Teaching 3.13
Teresa Crawford8
Estimated H-index: 8
(CSUF: California State University, Fullerton)
Serial analysis of gene expression (SAGE) and related techniques are gaining popularity as tools for exploring expression of plant genes but remain suboptimal because of smaller-than-expected average concatemer sizes. The presence of low-molecular-weight contaminants in high-molecular-weight concatemer fractions reduces the average size of cloned fragments, thereby limiting the viability of high-throughput sequencing methods. Implementation of an additional digestion step to promote formation of...
Cited By11
Published on Mar 1, 2017in Ecosphere 2.75
Jennifer L. Klug8
Estimated H-index: 8
(Fairfield University),
Cayelan C. Carey19
Estimated H-index: 19
(VT: Virginia Tech)
+ 1 AuthorsRebekka Darner Gougis4
Estimated H-index: 4
(ISU: Illinois State University)
Ecologists are increasingly analyzing long-term and high-frequency sensor datasets as part of their research. As ecology becomes a more data-rich scientific discipline, the next generation of ecologists needs to develop the quantitative literacy required to effectively analyze, visualize, and interpret large datasets. We developed and assessed three modules to teach undergraduate freshwater ecology students both scientific concepts and quantitative skills needed to work with large datasets. Thes...
Published on Oct 1, 2015in Journal of Science Education and Technology 1.78
Ane Sarasola1
Estimated H-index: 1
(UPV/EHU: University of the Basque Country),
J. F. Rojas15
Estimated H-index: 15
(UPV/EHU: University of the Basque Country),
Ana Okariz7
Estimated H-index: 7
(UPV/EHU: University of the Basque Country)
In this work, a specific implementation of a so-called experimental or open-ended laboratory is proposed and evaluated. Keeping in mind the scheduling limitations imposed by the context, first-year engineering physics laboratory practices have been revised in order to facilitate acquisition of the skills that are required in the experimental work. These skills concern different conceptual and procedural abilities related to designing experiments, taking measurements, analyzing the results and re...
Published on Jul 1, 2013in Educación Química
Eric R. Scerri21
Estimated H-index: 21
(UCLA: University of California, Los Angeles)
Many articles have been written about the value of incorporating an understanding of history and philosophy of science into science education and this has included the teaching of chemistry. Given the immense role that the periodic table plays in chemistry it is important to be clear about a historical and philosophical perspective on the periodic table and its possible ramifications for the way in which chem istry is presented. The article presents a critique of a paper by Niaz, Rodriguez and B...
Published on Jul 1, 2013in Educación Química
Mansoor Niaz31
Estimated H-index: 31
(UDO: Universidad de Oriente)
(Mendeleiev y la tabla periodica: Una respuesta a Scerri) Esta es una respuesta a algunas de las cuestiones planteadas por Scerri on “Some comments on the views of Niaz, Rodriguez and Brito (2004) on Mendeleev’s periodic system”. Agradecemos al editor, Andoni Garritz, por habernos invitado a escribir esta respuesta. No obstante, debido al espacio limitado en la revista me restrinjo a responder solo los asuntos mas importantes. Para ayudar al lector, he mantenido las mismas cabezas que uso Scerri...
Published on Apr 11, 2013in Journal of Science Teacher Education
Sarah J. Carrier8
Estimated H-index: 8
(NCSU: North Carolina State University)
Science vocabulary knowledge plays a role in understanding science concepts, and science knowledge is measured in part by correct use of science vocabulary (Lee et al. in J Res Sci Teach 32(8):797–816, 1995). Elementary school students have growing vocabularies and many are learning English as a secondary language or depend on schools to learn academic English. Teachers must have a clear understanding of science vocabulary in order to communicate and evaluate these understandings with students. ...
The purpose of this study was to examine the hypothetico-deductive skills demonstrated by teachers during the resolution of the pendulum problem. Specifically, we were interested in addressing the following: Do sciencebackground teachers approach the solution of the pendulum problem in a scientific manner more frequently than nonscience-background teachers? In order to answer this, we presented teachers with a pendulum with three different lengths and three different masses, in a manner similar ...
Published on Dec 2, 2010in Educational Assessment
Jonathan T. Shemwell7
Estimated H-index: 7
(Stanford University),
Erin Marie Furtak19
Estimated H-index: 19
(Stanford University)
One way to frame science classroom discussion is to engage students in scientific argumentation, an important discourse format within science aimed at coordinating empirical evidence and scientific theory. Framing discussion as scientific argumentation gives clear priority to contributions that are sustained by evidence. We question whether this priority is conducive to conceptually rich student talk (talk in which students elaborate key concepts and causal mechanisms). Coding transcripts of six...