Research trends in science education from 2013 to 2017: a systematic content analysis of publications in selected journals

Tzung Jin Lin, Tzu Chiang Lin, Patrice Potvin, Chin Chung Tsai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Citations (Scopus)


Following a series of reviews every 5 years since 1998, this fourth study presents the research trends in science education based on 1,088 research articles published in Science Education, Journal of Research in Science Teaching, and International Journal of Science Education from 2013 to 2017. The top three research topics, that is, the context of students’ learning, science teaching, and students’ conceptual learning were still emphasized by researchers in the period of 2013–2017. It is also evident that researchers have undoubtedly changed their preferences of research topics in the three journals within the 2 decades. For example, the topic concerning conceptual understanding, alternative conceptions, and conceptual change (Learning-Conceptions) was in continuous decline from 2003 to 2017, although it ranked as the top topic in the 1998–2002 period. The research topic of Teaching continuously ranked second in the 2008–2012 as well as in the 2013–2017 periods. Yet, the declining trend of Goals, Policy, and Curriculum reported in the last review was not observed in the latest period. The analysis of the top 10 most-cited papers unveiled that the issues such as inequality in science education, STEM education, and undergraduate research experiences were gradually highlighted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)367-387
Number of pages21
JournalInternational Journal of Science Education
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Feb 11



  • Literature review
  • research trend
  • science education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education

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