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ERIC Number: EJ846667
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Aug
Pages: 20
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0926-7220
Understanding Scientific Methodology in the Historical and Experimental Sciences via Language Analysis
Dodick, Jeff; Argamon, Shlomo; Chase, Paul
Science & Education, v18 n8 p985-1004 Aug 2009
A key focus of current science education reforms involves developing inquiry-based learning materials. However, without an understanding of how working scientists actually "do" science, such learning materials cannot be properly developed. Until now, research on scientific reasoning has focused on cognitive studies of individual scientific fields. However, the question remains as to whether scientists in different fields fundamentally rely on different methodologies. Although many philosophers and historians of science do indeed assert that there is no single monolithic scientific method, this has never been tested empirically. We therefore approach this problem by analyzing patterns of language used by scientists in their published work. Our results demonstrate systematic variation in language use between types of science that are thought to differ in their characteristic methodologies. The features of language use that were found correspond closely to a proposed distinction between "Experimental Sciences" (e.g., chemistry) and "Historical Sciences" (e.g., paleontology); thus, different underlying rhetorical and conceptual mechanisms likely operate for scientific reasoning and communication in different contexts.
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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