ERIC Number: EJ1021879
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 95
Network Analysis of Beliefs about the Scientific Enterprise: A Comparison of Scientists, Middle School Science Teachers and Eighth-Grade Science Students
Peters-Burton, Erin; Baynard, Liz R.
International Journal of Science Education, v35 n16 p2801-2837 2013
An understanding of the scientific enterprise is useful because citizens need to make systematic, rational decisions about projects involving scientific endeavors and technology, and a clearer understanding of scientific epistemology is beneficial because it could encourage more public engagement with science. The purpose of this study was to capture beliefs for three groups, scientists, secondary science teachers, and eighth-grade science students, about the ways scientific knowledge is generated and validated. Open-ended questions were framed by formal scientific epistemology and dimensions of epistemology recognized in the field of educational psychology. The resulting statements were placed in a card sort and mapped in a network analysis to communicate interconnections among ideas. Maps analyzed with multidimensional scaling revealed robust connections among students and scientists but not among teachers. Student and teacher maps illustrated the strongest connections among ideas about experiments while scientist maps present more descriptive and well-rounded ideas about the scientific enterprise. The students' map was robust in terms of numbers of ideas, but were lacking in a hierarchical organization of ideas. The teachers' map displayed an alignment with the learning standards of the state, but not a broader view of science. The scientists map displayed a hierarchy of ideas with elaboration of equally valued statements connected to several foundational statements. Network analysis can be helpful in forwarding the study of views of the nature of science because of the technique's ability to capture verbatim statements from participants and to display the strength of connections among the statements.
Descriptors: Scientific Enterprise, Scientific Principles, Epistemology, Beliefs, Scientists, College Faculty, Middle School Teachers, Middle School Students, Grade 8, Network Analysis, Comparative Analysis, Questionnaires, Qualitative Research
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Publication Type: Reports - Research; Journal Articles
Education Level: Middle Schools; Junior High Schools; Secondary Education; Higher Education; Postsecondary Education; Grade 8
Authoring Institution: N/A