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ERIC Number: ED407266
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1997-Mar
Pages: 18
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Undergraduate Science Students' Images of the Nature of Science.
Ryder, Jim; And Others
In the United Kingdom, university science undergraduates specialize in a single science subject for the entire 3-4 years of study. This study examines images of the nature of science held by science students in their final year at university. Data are drawn from a longitudinal interview study of 11 students engaged in open-ended project work at the University of Leeds (Leeds, England). Images of science expressed during these interviews are characterized and coded using a framework involving three distinct areas of epistemological and sociological reasoning: (1) the relationship between data and knowledge claims; (2) the nature of lines of scientific inquiry; and (3) science as a community of scientists. Students tended to view knowledge claims as provable solely on empirical grounds, though some students mentioned social factors as also being important. Many students showed significant development in their understanding of how lines of scientific inquiry are influenced by theoretical developments within a discipline. Issues relating to scientists working as a community were underrepresented in the students' discussions about science. Rather than a single image of science, individual students drew upon a range or profile of positions in each area of the framework, depending on the scientific context being discussed. The framework of students' epistemological and sociological reasoning developed here may help to identify areas in existing undergraduate curricula in which students' images of science could be developed. (Author/PVD)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom