Students' views of the nature of science: A critical review of research

Feng Deng, Der Thanq Chen, Chin Chung Tsai, Ching Sing Chai

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

133 Citations (Scopus)


This review examines 105 empirical studies that investigate students' views of the nature of science (VNOS), effects of curricular interventions on changing students' VNOS, and relations between VNOS and demographics, majors, and learning of science. The reviewed studies can be categorized into three theoretical frameworks: the unidimension, the multidimension, and the argumentative resource frameworks. Each framework is reviewed first with regard to its theoretical foundation, methods of data collection and analysis, and the respective findings. This is followed by a critical discussion on the methodological issues and the strengths and limitations of the framework. Potential directions regarding theoretical framework, methodology, and pedagogy are suggested in the future directions section. For example, this review proposes the shift to argumentative resource framework for VNOS research and a refinement for judging the "sophistication" of student VNOS. The role of inquiry in student VNOS is also discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)961-999
Number of pages39
JournalScience Education
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2011 Nov

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • History and Philosophy of Science


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