High school students' views of the nature of science

Barry, Maurice A. (1990) High school students' views of the nature of science. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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    Available under License - The author retains copyright ownership and moral rights in this thesis. Neither the thesis nor substantial extracts from it may be printed or otherwise reproduced without the author's permission.
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Abstract

This study examined high school students' views of the nature of science. A stratified random sample of 32 students chosen from nine schools in eastern and central Newfoundland were interviewed on an individual basis. The interviews were semi-structured and were administered in general accordance with an interview guide. The transcripts were reduced to a set of individualized conceptual inventories. The frequency of occurrence of each representative statement was tallied and tabulated. A number of general trends were identified. Most students were found to have difficulty establishing the domain of science although many tended to view the practice of science as cumulative. Although the majority of the sample asserted that scientific information was tentative and provisional, they tended to regard factual information in science to be absolute and irrefutable. Scientific theories appeared to be only understood in a naive sense in that most subjects regarded theories as suggested explanations for fairly discrete events as opposed to elaborate interpretive frameworks. In accordance with previously documented evidence (Aikenhead, 1987) many subjects were found to equate the term "scientific law" with the more common legal usage of the word. Finally, elements of what Nadeau and Desautels (1984) term as naive realism, blissful empiricism, credulous experimentalism and excessive rationalism were found to be quite prevalent in the transcripts.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/5126
Item ID: 5126
Additional Information: Bibliography: leaves 127-134.
Department(s): Education, Faculty of
Date: 1990
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Science--Public opinion; Science--Study and teaching (Secondary)

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