Exploring the influence of a science content course incorporating explicit nature of science and argumentation instruction on preservice primary teachers' views of nature of science

McDonald, Christine (2008) Exploring the influence of a science content course incorporating explicit nature of science and argumentation instruction on preservice primary teachers' views of nature of science. PhD thesis, Queensland University of Technology.


There exists a general consensus in the science education literature around the goal of enhancing students. and teachers. views of nature of science (NOS). An emerging area of research in science education explores NOS and argumentation, and the aim of this study was to explore the effectiveness of a science content course incorporating explicit NOS and argumentation instruction on preservice primary teachers. views of NOS. A constructivist perspective guided the study, and the research strategy employed was case study research. Five preservice primary teachers were selected for intensive investigation in the study, which incorporated explicit NOS and argumentation instruction, and utilised scientific and socioscientific contexts for argumentation to provide opportunities for participants to apply their NOS understandings to their arguments. Four primary sources of data were used to provide evidence for the interpretations, recommendations, and implications that emerged from the study. These data sources included questionnaires and surveys, interviews, audio- and video-taped class sessions, and written artefacts. Data analysis involved the formation of various assertions that informed the major findings of the study, and a variety of validity and ethical protocols were considered during the analysis to ensure the findings and interpretations emerging from the data were valid. Results indicated that the science content course was effective in enabling four of the five participants. views of NOS to be changed. All of the participants expressed predominantly limited views of the majority of the examined NOS aspects at the commencement of the study. Many positive changes were evident at the end of the study with four of the five participants expressing partially informed and/or informed views of the majority of the examined NOS aspects. A critical analysis of the effectiveness of the various course components designed to facilitate the development of participants‟ views of NOS in the study, led to the identification of three factors that mediated the development of participants‟ NOS views: (a) contextual factors (including context of argumentation, and mode of argumentation), (b) task-specific factors (including argumentation scaffolds, epistemological probes, and consideration of alternative data and explanations), and (c) personal factors (including perceived previous knowledge about NOS, appreciation of the importance and utility value of NOS, and durability and persistence of pre-existing beliefs). A consideration of the above factors informs recommendations for future studies that seek to incorporate explicit NOS and argumentation instruction as a context for learning about NOS.

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ID Code: 26330
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD)
Supervisor: McRobbie, Campbell & Watters, James
Keywords: nature of science (NOS), epistemology of science, argumentation, context of argumentation, preservice primary teachers
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 14 Jul 2009 04:52
Last Modified: 28 Oct 2011 19:53

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