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ERIC Number: EJ820210
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Jan
Pages: 24
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0926-7220
Turning Crisis into Opportunity: Nature of Science and Scientific Inquiry as Illustrated in the Scientific Research on Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome
Wong, Siu Ling; Kwan, Jenny; Hodson, Derek; Yung, Benny Hin Wai
Science & Education, v18 n1 p95-118 Jan 2009
Interviews with key scientists who had conducted research on Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), together with analysis of media reports, documentaries and other literature published during and after the SARS epidemic, revealed many interesting aspects of the nature of science (NOS) and scientific inquiry in contemporary scientific research in the rapidly growing field of molecular biology. The story of SARS illustrates vividly some NOS features advocated in the school science curriculum, including the tentative nature of scientific knowledge, theory-laden observation and interpretation, multiplicity of approaches adopted in scientific inquiry, the inter-relationship between science and technology, and the nexus of science, politics, social and cultural practices. The story also provided some insights into a number of NOS features less emphasised in the school curriculum--for example, the need to combine and coordinate expertise in a number of scientific fields, the intense competition between research groups (suspended during the SARS crisis), the significance of affective issues relating to intellectual honesty and the courage to challenge authority, the pressure of funding issues on the conduct of research and the "peace of mind" of researchers. These less emphasised elements provided empirical evidence that NOS knowledge, like scientific knowledge itself, changes over time. They reflected the need for teachers and curriculum planners to revisit and reconsider whether the features of NOS currently included in the school science curriculum are fully reflective of the practice of science in the 21st century. In this paper, we also report on how we made use of extracts from the news reports and documentaries on SARS, together with episodes from the scientists' interviews, to develop a multimedia instructional package for explicitly teaching the prominent features of NOS and scientific inquiry identified in the SARS research.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A