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ERIC Number: ED554710
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 329
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-3030-7003-7
Development of Nature of Science Ideas through Authentic Scientific Research
Burgin, Stephen Randall
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Florida.
Understanding the ways in which scientific knowledge develops, or the epistemology of science, is believed to be a crucial component of scientific literacy. This construct is more formally known as Nature of Science (NOS) within the science education community. The merits of three different approaches to NOS teaching and learning in the context of authentic scientific research on high school student participants' NOS ideas were explored in this study. These approaches were an explicit/reflective approach, a reflective approach and an implicit approach. The effectiveness of explicit approaches over implicit approaches has been demonstrated in school contexts, but little is known regarding the merits of these approaches when the practices that learners engage in are highly authentic in the ways in which they model the work of professional scientists. If an implicit approach yields positive impacts in authentic contexts, then which specific factors within those contexts are influential in doing so? The Authentic Experiences in Science Program (AESP), a summer program designed for high school students offered at a major research university, offered a wonderful context for an investigation of these issues. In this program, high school students worked for an extended period of time in a research scientist's laboratory on an authentic research project. Additionally, seminars offered through the program provided a venue for the implementation of the three aforementioned NOS teaching and learning approaches. An open-ended questionnaire designed to assess respondent NOS ideas was administered to 30 participants of the AESP both at the beginning and again at the end of the program. From those thirty, six case study participants were selected, and through a series of observations and interviews, influential factors impacting their NOS ideas within their specific laboratory placements were identified. Results of categorical data analysis of the questionnaires revealed that the changes in NOS ideas exhibited by the participants who experienced the explicit/reflective approach were significantly different from the changes in NOS ideas exhibited by the participants who experienced either of the other two approaches. Specifically, changes related to participants' understandings of the distinctions between theories and laws in science and the myth of the scientific method were significantly and positively impacted for the participants who experienced the explicit/reflective approach. Additionally, case study participants who experienced either of the other two approaches demonstrated changes in their understandings of many NOS aspects (e.g. subjectivity, creativity, empirical NOS). Authentic action on the part of these participants was linked to these positive NOS changes. That authentic action was more influential when the participants were treated in authentic ways and developed feelings of authenticity. The findings prompted a discussion of implications and recommendations for NOS teaching and learning in both school contexts and authentic contexts. [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: High Schools; Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A