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ERIC Number: ED547032
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 133
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-2675-1973-3
Understanding the Views of the Nature of Science of Undergraduate Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Students
Hypolite, Karen L.
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, Southern University and Agricultural and Mechanical College
Much of the nature of science research has been focused on high school students. High school students are primarily the target of such research to aid and to guide them in making informed decisions about possible career choices in the sciences (Bell, Blair, Crawford, & Lederman, 2002). Moreover, during review of the literature, little to no research seeks to gain insight of undergraduate STEM students until now. This research study focused on the views of the nature of science for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics undergraduate students at institutions of higher learning. It is more common than not for scientists to go through several research trials before they see any real results. This type of trial and error, questioning, data analysis, review and scrutiny is the basis for the nature of scientific research. Many students, especially minority students, have no documented opportunities for this level of research. The research strategy used in this study was the mixed-methods strategy. By using a Pearson Correlation as a quantitative method of data analysis, the researcher was able to make determinations of the understanding of the nature of science. Mixed with interviews and written responses from the participants, students who participate in scientific research do not automatically have an informed nature of science. Race has no factor in determining if a student has an informed versus naive understanding of the nature of science. Based on student responses as well as data recorded and transcribed from participant interviews for the qualitative component, there is no evidence to support an informed understanding of the nature of science for those who actively participate in scientific research versus those who do not participate in scientific research. In SPSS, controlling for race, the Pearson correlation between research experience and the nature of science showed an average R-value of 0.033 (see Table I). The closer the R-value was to one, the stronger the correlation. The further the R-value was away from one, the weaker the correlation. This portion of the study focused on research experience and nature of science, controlling for race. The R-value gave a good indication of the mutually exclusive relationship between participant understanding of the nature of science and research experience. No relationship was evident between participant research experience and understanding of the nature of science. There were instances where the correlation was negative; however, it was not strong enough to indicate an inversely proportional relationship. Controlling for research experience, the correlation was tested for understanding of the nature of science based on race. The R-value for this correlation was .053. This R-value indicated that there was no relationship between participant race and understanding of the nature of science (see Table II). This indicates that other factors influence how students process and understand science. The data shows ethnic background had little correlation with an understanding of science as an enterprise that has continued discovery at its apex. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A