Research in Science Education

, Volume 29, Issue 3, pp 385–399 | Cite as

A quantitative analysis of physics textbooks for scientific literacy themes

Article

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine the content of textbooks used in the Victorian Physics course between 1967 and 1997 for curriculum balance and emphasis on the following aspects of scientific literacy: (a) science as a body of knowledge, (b) science as a way of investigating, (c) science as a way of thinking, and (d) the interaction between science, technology and society. These themes were chosen because they are reflected in the aims of the current Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE) Physics course. The textbook is an important teaching aid in senior school physics in Victoria since it conveys some of the information that students receive and influences how students perceive the subject. The majority of the textbooks analysed stress science as a body of knowledge, place some emphasis on science as a way of investigating, and have little emphasis on science as a way of thinking. Texts produced for the new VCE Physics course (post 1990) were found to place more emphasis on the theme science, technology and society than texts produced prior to 1990.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Textbooks Analysed

  1. De Jong, E., Armitage, F., Brown, M., Butler, P., & Hayes, J. (1990).Physics one. Melbourne, Vic: Heinemann.Google Scholar
  2. De Jong, E., Armitage, F., Brown, M., Butler, P., & Hayes, J. (1991).Physics two. Melbourne, Vic: Heinemann.Google Scholar
  3. Harding, J., Burrows, R., Del Balso, S., & Forward, K. (1996).Physics: Concepts & applications. Melbourne, Vic: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  4. Hart, C., Mazzolini, M., Tytler, R., & Callahan, T. (1991).Physics: Revealing our world 1. Brisbane, Qld: Jacaranda.Google Scholar
  5. Ingram, A., McCarthy, I., Sandercock, E., Smith, W., & Waite. P. (1976).Physics a laboratory oriented approach. Adelaide, SA: Rigby.Google Scholar
  6. Lofts, G., O'Keeffe, D., Robertson, P., Pentland, P., Hill, B., & Pearce, J. (1997).Jacaranda physics 1. Brisbane, Qld: Jacaranda Wiley.Google Scholar
  7. Mayfield, J. M., Parham, R. T., & Webber, B. J. (1974).Fundamentals of senior physics 1. Melbourne, Vic: Heinemann.Google Scholar
  8. Mayfield, J. M., Parham, R. T., & Webber, B. J. (1975).Fundamentals of senior physics 2. Melbourne, Vic: Heinemann.Google Scholar
  9. Mayfield, J. M., Parham, R. T., & Webber, B. J. (1984).Fundamentals of senior physics. (Integrated edn). Melbourne, Vic: Heinemann.Google Scholar
  10. Mazzolini, M., Baxter, G., Champion, N., Halls, B., Hill, A., Mazzolini, A., Taylor, G., & Tytler, R. (1992).Physics: Revealing our world 2. Brisbane, Qld: Jacaranda.Google Scholar
  11. Millar, G., Chapman, R., Gersh, H., Burrows, K., Bail, D., & Fry, C. (1996).Physics 12. Melbourne, Vic: Heinemann.Google Scholar
  12. Moyle, D., Allan, P., Millar, G., & Molde, T. (1986).Senior physics. Melbourne, Vic: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  13. Physical Science Study Committee (1967).Physics (2nd. edn.) Boston, MASS: Heath and Company.Google Scholar
  14. Physical Science Study Committee, (1971).Physics (3rd. edn.) Boston, MASS: Health and Company.Google Scholar
  15. Storen, A., & Martine, R. (1987).Physics for senior students. Melbourne, Vic: Nelson.Google Scholar
  16. Storen, A., & Martine, R. (1997).Nelson physics, VCE Units 1 & 2. Melbourne, Vic: Nelson.Google Scholar
  17. Wilkinson, J. (1990).World of physics Book 1. Melbourne, Vic.: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  18. Wilkinson, J. (1991).World of physics Book 2. Melbourne, Vic: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  19. Wilkinson, J. (1997a).Contextual physics Book one. Melbourne, Vic.: Addison-Wesley Longman.Google Scholar
  20. Wilkinson, J. (1997b).Contextual physics Book two. Melbourne, Vic: Addison-Wesley Longman.Google Scholar

References

  1. American Association for the Advancement of Science. (1989).Project 2061: Science for all Americans. Washington, DC: AAAS Publications.Google Scholar
  2. American Association for the Advancement of Science. (1993).Benchmarks for scientific literacy. New York NY: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Bauer, H. H. (1992).Scientific literacy and the myth of the scientific method. Chicago, IL: University of Illinois Press.Google Scholar
  4. Board of Studies. (1994a).VCE Chemistry study design. Carlton, Victoria: Board of Studies.Google Scholar
  5. Board of Studies. (1994b).VCE Physics study design. Carlton, Victoria: Board of Studies.Google Scholar
  6. Boulding, K. E. & Senesh, L. (1983).The optimal utilisation of knowledge: Making knowledge serve human betterment. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.Google Scholar
  7. Bybee, R. W. (1986).Science, technology, society. The 1985 yearbook: Washington, DC: National Science Teachers Association.Google Scholar
  8. Bybee, R. W. (1997).Achieving scientific literacy: From purposes to practices. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.Google Scholar
  9. Bybee, R. W., & Ben-Zvi, N. (1998). Science curriculum: Transforming goals to practices. In B. Fraser, & K. Tobin (Eds.),International handbook of science education (pp. 487–498). Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Publishers.Google Scholar
  10. Chiang-Soong, B., & Yager, R. (1993). The inclusion of STS material in the most frequently used secondary textbooks.Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 30(4), 339–349.Google Scholar
  11. Chiappetta, E. L., Fillman, D. A., & Sethna, G. H. (1991a).Procedures for conducting content analysis of science textbooks. Houston, TX: Department of Curriculum and Instruction, University of Houston.Google Scholar
  12. Chiappetta, E. L., Fillman, D. A., & Sethna, G. H. (1991b). A method to quantify major themes of scientific literacy in science textbooks.Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 28(8), 713–725.Google Scholar
  13. Chiappetta, E. L., Sethna, G. H., & Fillman, D. A., (1991). A quantitative analysis of high school chemistry textbooks form scientific literacy themes and expository learning aids.Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 28(10), 939–951.Google Scholar
  14. Cho, H., & Kahle, J. (1984). A study of the relationship between concept emphasis in high school biology textbooks and achievement levels.Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 21(7), 725–733.Google Scholar
  15. Collette, A. T., & Chiappetta, E. L. (1986).Science instruction in the middle and secondary schools (1st ed). Columbus, OH: Merrill Publishing Company.Google Scholar
  16. Collette, A. T., & Chiappetta, E. L. (1989).Science instruction in the middle and secondary schools (2nd ed). Columbus, Ohio: Merrill Publishing Company.Google Scholar
  17. Fensham, P. J. (1996). Science curriculum around Australia.Science and technology education. Melbourne, Vic: Australian Council for Educational Research.Google Scholar
  18. Garcia, T. D. (1985).An analysis of earth science textbooks for presentation of aspects of scientific literacy. Unpublished dissertation, University of Houston, Texas.Google Scholar
  19. Garfield, E. (1988). Science literacy (Part 1).Current Contents, 31, 3–9.Google Scholar
  20. Good, R., Herron, J. D., Lawson, A. E., & Renner, J. W. (1985). The domain of science education.Science Education, 69(3), 139.Google Scholar
  21. Gregory, E., & Martin, P. (1988). STAV post primary science survey-1987.Lab Talk, 32(2), 3–5.Google Scholar
  22. Gregory, E., & Martin, P. (1992). The state of secondary science education in Victoria.Lab Talk, 36(5), 3–7.Google Scholar
  23. Gregory, E., & Martin, P. (1995). A snapshot of Victorian secondary science education 1994.Lab Talk, 39 (2), 31–36.Google Scholar
  24. Hart, C. (1995).Access and the quality of learning: The story of a curriculum document for school physics Unpublished doctoral thesis. Monash University, Melbourne, Australia.Google Scholar
  25. Harms, N. C., & Yager, R. E. (1981).What research says to the science teacher (No. 3, pp. 113–127). Washington DC: National Science Teachers Association.Google Scholar
  26. Hofstein, A., & Yager, R. (1982). Societal issues as organizers for science education in the 80s.School Science and Mathematics, 82(7), 539–547.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Hurd, P. (1998). Scientific literacy: New minds for a changing world.Science Education, 82, 407–416.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Maarschalk, J. (1988). Scientific literacy and informal science teaching.Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 25, 135–146.Google Scholar
  29. Mallette, D. L. (1980).The acceptance of the goal of scientific literacy by science educators, supervisors and secondary school science teachers in North Carolina. Unpublished PhD thesis, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina, USA.Google Scholar
  30. National Research Council. (1996).National science education standards. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.Google Scholar
  31. National Science Teachers Association. (1982).Science, technology, society—Science education for the 1980s: An NSTA position statement. Washington, DC: National Science Teachers Association.Google Scholar
  32. Norman, O. (1998). Marginalised discourses and scientific literacy.Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 35, 365–374.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Nunnally, G. (1967).Psychometric theory. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  34. Orpwood, G. W. (1984).Science education in Canadian Schools, 1. Quebec: Canadian Government Publishing Centre.Google Scholar
  35. Orpwood, G. W., & Soque, J. P. (1984).Summary of background study 52, Science education in Canadian schools. Ottawa, Canada: Science Council of Canada.Google Scholar
  36. Pella, M. O., O'Hearn, G. T., & Gale, C. W. (1966). Scientific literacy—Its referents.The Science Teacher, 33(5), 4.Google Scholar
  37. Piel, E. J. (1981). Interaction of science, technology, and society in secondary school. In N. C. Harms, & R. E. Yager (Eds.),What research says to the science teacher (Vol. 3) (pp. 94–112). Washington, DC: National Science Teachers Association.Google Scholar
  38. Shamos, M. (1995).The myth of scientific literacy. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.Google Scholar
  39. Showalter, V. M. (1974). What is unified science education? (Part 5): Program objectives and scientific literacy.Prism, 2, 3, 4.Google Scholar
  40. Solomon, J., & Aikenhead, G. S. (Eds.) (1994).STS education: International perspectives on reform. New York, NY: Teachers College Press.Google Scholar
  41. Strube, P. (1985).The physical science textbook since 1800: A study of its language, structure and rhetorical style. Unpublished PhD thesis, University of Tasmania, Hobart, Australia.Google Scholar
  42. Strube, P. (1989). The notion of style in physics textbooks.Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 26(4), 291–299.Google Scholar
  43. Tamir, P. (1985). Content analysis focusing on inquiry.Journal of Curriculum Studies 17(1), 87–94.Google Scholar
  44. Theile, R., Venville, G., & Treagust, D. (1995). A comparative analysis of analogies in secondary biology and chemistry textbooks used in Australian schools.Research in Science Education, 25(2), 221–230.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Board. (1990).Physics course development support material. Melbourne, Vic: VCAB.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Australian Science Research Association 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department, School of Arts and EducationLa Trobe UniversityBendigoAustralia

Personalised recommendations