The nature of science: A perspective from the philosophy of science
A central goal of elementary and secondary science education is to go beyond the facts and theories associated with particular sciences and to give students an understanding of the nature of science (NOS) in general. Educational researchers have developed a variety of test instruments to assess student comprehension of NOS, but a lack of consensus among educators about how to characterize NOS raises questions about the validity of these instruments. Brian Alters (Professor of Science Education, McGill University) has sought to clarify the various possible positions on the nature of science by conducting a survey of philosophers of science. In this paper, we discuss the results of Alters' efforts, arguing that the techniques of data collection and statistical analysis used by Alters give a confused and misleading picture of philosophical positions on the nature of science. We also discuss ways in which we think that research in the philosophy of science might be more fruitfully brought to bear on the teaching of NOS.
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Judy T. Eflin, Stuart Glennan, and George Reisch. "The nature of science: A perspective from the philosophy of science" Journal of Research in Science Teaching 36.1 (1999): 107-116.