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ERIC Number: EJ872157
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Feb
Pages: 22
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0926-7220
The Empirical Attitude, Material Practice and Design Activities
Apedoe, Xornam; Ford, Michael
Science & Education, v19 n2 p165-186 Feb 2010
This article is an argument about something that is both important and severely underemphasized in most current science curricula. The empirical attitude, fundamental to science since Galileo, is a habit of mind that motivates an active search for feedback on our ideas from the material world. Although more simple views of science manifest the empirical attitude through relation of theories to data, we describe more recent philosophical scholarship that characterizes the relation of theories to data through "phenomena" (regularities in nature's behavior that can be identified and characterized through data). This view highlights the centrality of "material practice", in which scientists design data collection events to inform phenomena. Thus manifestation of the empirical attitude in science is characterized as a design endeavor that involves considerably sophisticated coordination among theories, phenomena, data, and data collection events. If we want students to learn how to participate in such work, curricula should break down these complex processes into more basic components at least at the outset. Our recommendation is to begin with design activities that can focus on the empirical attitude initially without the complex coordination with phenomena and data. We present an example of such an activity and share results that suggest design activities can target the empirical attitude and be built upon in curricula to gradually include coordination with phenomena and theories.
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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