Usage of Terms “Science” and “Scientific Knowledge” in Nature of Science (NOS): Do Their Lexicons in Different Accounts Indicate Shared Conceptions?

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Nature of science (NOS) has been a central theme in science education and research on it for nearly three decades, but there is still debate on its proper focus and underpinnings. The focal points of these debates revolve around different ways of understanding the terms “science” and “scientific knowledge”. It is suggested here that the lack of agreement is at least partially related to and reflected as a lack of common vocabulary and terminology that would provide a shared basis for finding consensus. Consequently, the present study seeks motivation from the notions of centrality of lexicons in recognizing the identity of disciplinary communities and different schools of thought within NOS. Here, by using a network approach, we investigate how lexicons used by different authors to discuss NOS are confluent or divergent. The lexicons used in these texts are investigated on the basis of a network analysis. The results of the analysis reveal clear differences in the lexicons that are partially related to differences in views, as evident from the debates surrounding the consensus NOS. The most divergent views are related to epistemology, while regarding the practices and social embeddedness of science the lexicons overlap significantly. This suggests that, in consensus NOS, one can find much basis for converging views, with common understanding, where constructive communication may be possible. The basic vocabulary, in the form of a lexicon, can reveal much about the different stances and the differences and similarities between various disciplinary schools. The advantage of such an approach is its neutrality and how it keeps a distance from preferred epistemological positions and views of nature of knowledge.
TidskriftEducation Sciences
Antal sidor25
StatusPublicerad - 17 sep 2020
MoE-publikationstypA1 Tidskriftsartikel-refererad


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