ERIC Number: ED230584
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1981-Sep
Reference Count: 0
Towards a Lakatosian Programme of Research into Concept Development.
Gilbert, John; Swift, David
Although the ideas of Jean Piaget still dominate the field of science education, the range and severity of criticisms has increased progressively. In recent years, the emergence of a different theory of cognitive development has begun. This paper tentatively outlines a Lakatosian Research Programme for the alternative conceptions field. The fundamental assumptions on which the field could be based might be: (1) the world is real but individuals vary in their perception of it; (2) an individual's conceptions of the real world have integrity for that individual; (3) consciousness being intentional, all observations are theory dependent; (4) individuals use personally pre-existing theories to erect explanatory hypotheses about events in their environment; (5) these hypotheses are then tested for fruitfulness; and (6) the underlying theories are modified in the light of this testing. In the long term, the Program has political as well as academic overtones. If an alternative conceptions program succeeds in demonstrating a priori (i.e. using data analysis conducted without Piagetian expectations) that Piaget's "epistemic subject" does not exist, then stratified access to educational resources has no validity in science education and science education will be the more securely based. (PN)
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Lakatosian Programme; Piagetian Theory
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Oxford Science Education Conference (England, September 1981). Figure 1 contains small print.