diction, creativity/science and questioning, cooperation and collaboration in the development of scientific knowledge, science and technology, historical development of scientific knowledge, and diversity of scientific thinking.

Sandoval reviewed Osborne and others’ definitions of science epistemology (e.g., Driver et al., 1996; Lederman et al., 2002; McComas and Olson, 1998) and presented a more manageable list of four broad epistemological themes, which we pause to discuss briefly. First, Sandoval asserts that viewing scientific knowledge as constructed is of primary importance that underscores a dialectical relationship between theory and evidence. Students, if they are to understand what science is, must accept that it is something that people do and create. From this flows the implication that science involves creativity and that science is not science because it is “true” but because it is persuasive.

The second theme is that scientific methods are diverse: there is no single “method” which generically applies to all scientific inquiries (experiments may be conducted in some fields, but not in others). Rather than relying on one or several rote methods, science depends on ways of evaluating scientific claims (e.g., with respect to systematicity, care, and fit with existing knowledge).

Third, scientific knowledge comes in different forms, which vary in their explanatory and predictive power (e.g., theories, laws, hypotheses; for more on this, see Chapter 2). This is a theme often overlooked in traditional analyses (including Osborne’s) but one that is central to understanding the constructive nature of science and the interaction of different knowledge forms in inquiry. Fourth, Sandoval asserts that scientific knowledge varies in certainty. Acknowledging variable certainty, Sandoval argues, invites students to engage the ideas critically and to evaluate them using epistemological criteria.

Another approach to defining the aspects of understanding the epistemology of science that science curriculum should inhere is to consider the aspects of epistemology that have been linked to enhancing the development of science understanding. Although the literature does not offer a systematic treatment of this notion, there are pockets of evidence that suggest a relationship between aspects of epistemology and students’ understanding and use of scientific knowledge.

For example, there is evidence that when students come to view argumentation as a central feature of science, this can have considerable positive effects on their understanding and use of investigative strategies (see, e.g., Sandoval and Reiser, 2004; Toth, Suthers, and Lesgold, 2002). Songer and Linn (1991) have also analyzed the effects of a dynamic versus a static view of science and found that a dynamic view is conducive to knowledge integration. Hammer (1994) has identified a relationship between views of knowledge (in terms of coherence, authoritativeness, and degree to which knowl-



The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement