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The Relationship between Students' Views of the Nature of Science and their Views of the Nature of Scientific Measurement

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JournalInternational Journal of Science Education
DatePublished - 1 Jun 2009
Issue number9
Number of pages20
Pages (from-to)1137-1156
Original languageEnglish


The present study explores the relationship between students' views of the nature of science (NOS) and their views of the nature of scientific measurement. A questionnaire with two-tier diagnostic multiple-choice items on both the NOS and measurement was administered to 179 first-year physics students with diverse school experiences. Students' views on the NOS were classified into four NOS 'profiles', and views on measurement were classified according to either the point or set paradigms. The findings show that students with a NOS profile dominated by a belief that the laws of nature are to be discovered by scientists are more likely to have a view of the nature of scientific measurement characterised by a belief in 'true' values. On the other hand, students who believe that scientific theories are inventions of scientists, constructed from observations that are then validated through further experimentation, are more likely to have a view of the nature of scientific measurement that is underpinned by the uncertain nature of scientific evidence. The implications for teaching scientific measurement at tertiary level are discussed.

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