Epistemological understanding in science learning: The consistency of representations across contexts

J Leach, R Millar, J Ryder, M G Sere

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article addresses the extent to which written diagnostic questions can be used to assess science students' representations of the nature of science. The responses of 731 European science students in upper secondary school and undergraduate programmes to two written diagnostic questions are analysed for consistency. The written questions yielded some insights into students' views. There is evidence that the majority of students in this sample draw upon different epistemological representations in different contexts. The paper concludes with a discussion of the use of data from such questions in science education, and the significance of models of students' epistemological knowledge. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)497-527
Number of pages31
JournalLearning and Instruction
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2000


  • epistemological understanding
  • methodology

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