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ERIC Number: EJ1130298
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016
Pages: 22
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-2154-8455
Communicating the Nature of Science through "The Big Bang Theory": Evidence from a Focus Group Study
Li, Rashel; Orthia, Lindy A.
International Journal of Science Education, Part B: Communication and Public Engagement, v6 n2 p115-136 2016
In this paper, we discuss a little-studied means of communicating about or teaching the nature of science (NOS)--through fiction television. We report some results of focus group research which suggest that the American sitcom "The Big Bang Theory" (2007-present), whose main characters are mostly working scientists, has influenced viewers' perceptions of NOS. Both scientists and non-scientists were among the audience members participating in the study, thus making it possible to evaluate whether the portrayal of NOS resonates with scientists' lived experience (using scientists' reflections on the show) and whether non-scientist audience members come to know something about NOS from the show. Responses from the focus groups suggest that three aspects of NOS were most prominent in participants' minds: science is empirically based, science is subjective and theory-laden, and, in particular, science is socially and culturally embedded. We argue that a broad understanding of NOS can be cultivated peripherally via regular viewing of this television programme, and a deeper understanding of particular aspects may result when viewers vividly remember specific scenes and storylines.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Australia
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A