ERG SES H 07, Sciences, Mathematics and Education
One of the most general goals of standards for global science education is to prepare scientifically literate students despite the fact that the meaning of scientific literacy differs somewhat from one country to another (Lederman, 1992). While some standards put more emphasis on the content, some others give precedence to the process. Having an explicit understanding of the enterprise of science constitutes the keystone of scientific literacy [American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), 1993; National Research Council (NRC), 1996]. A scientifically literate person should be well-informed about the nature of science (NOS) and the nature of scientific inquiry (NOSI) as well as science subject matter (AAAS, 1989, 1993; NRC, 1996). Since 1990s, NOS has been one of the most popular topics studied by science educators for defining and/or improving the views of students, pre-service and in-service teachers (Lederman, 1992). A careful review of the science education literature reveals that the number of research studies on NOSI are relatively fewer in comparison to NOS due to the fact that the notions related to the methods of science are often placed under the umbrella ofNOS (Schwartz, Lederman and Lederman, 2008). In other words, NOS is used usually in the literature as an encompassing term including the elements of NOSI. Whereas NOS is mostly related to the definition and features of science, and social, political and cultural aspects of science, NOSI is generally related to the process of scientific inquiry and how scientific knowledge is generated and accepted. Although drawing the borderline between the concepts related to NOS and NOSI is sometimes hard, some of the aspects of NOSI include: questions guiding investigations, multiple methods of scientific investigation, multiple purposes of scientific investigation, justification of scientific knowledge, recognition and handling of anomalous data, distinction between data and evidence, community of practice (Schwartz, 2004).
Based on the aforementioned reasons, preparing a scientifically literate population has been the global aim of science education for the last two decades. It is because great number of study which aimed to reveal or/and improve NOS and NOSI understandings of in-service teachers, pre-service teachers and students have been done. However, the numbers of researches which uncover the understandings of academics who work for teacher training are limited. These limited number studies show that the majority of academics as teachers and students have naive views both on NOS and NOSI (Schwartz, 2004; Tira, 2009). Academics should have contemporary understandings for both their self-improvement and their students’ improvement on NOS and NOSI. For these reasons, it is importance to reveal academics’ understanding of NOS and NOSI. In this study, I focus on to uncover NOSI concepts understandings of academics. The following research questions are addressed:
- What are academics’ understandings of nature of scientific inquiry?
- What differences in ideas about nature of scientific inquiry, if any, are apparent among academics in different educational science disciplines?
- What differences in ideas about nature of scientific inquiry, if any, are apparent between academics at expert and novice levels?
American Association for the Advancement of Science (1989). Project 2061: Science for all Americans. New York: Oxford University Press. American Association for the Advancement of Science(1993). Benchmarks for science literacy. New York: Oxford University Press. Fraenkel, J. R., & Wallen, N. E. (2003). How to design and evaluate research in education (5th Ed.). New York: McGraw-Hills. Lederman, N. G. (1992). Students' and teachers' concetions of the nature of science: A review of research. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 29(4), 331-359. National Research Council (1996). National science education standards. Washington DC: National Academy Press. Patton, M. Q. (2002). Qualitative research & evaluation methods (3rd Ed.). California:Sage. Schwartz, R. (2004). Epistemological views in authentic science practice: A cross-discipline comparison of scientists' views of nature of science and scientific inquiry. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Oregon, USA: Oregon State University. Schwartz, R. S., Lederman, N. G. ve Lederman, J. S. (2008). An instrument to assess views of scientific inquiry: The VOSI questionnaire. The annual meeting of the National Association for Research in Science Teaching. Baltimore, MD. Tira, P. (2009). Comparing scientists' views of nature of science within and across disciplines, and levels of expertise. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Indiana, USA: Indiana University.
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