Science & Education

, Volume 20, Issue 7–8, pp 591–607 | Cite as

A Family Resemblance Approach to the Nature of Science for Science Education

  • Gürol Irzik
  • Robert Nola


Although there is universal consensus both in the science education literature and in the science standards documents to the effect that students should learn not only the content of science but also its nature, there is little agreement about what that nature is. This led many science educators to adopt what is sometimes called “the consensus view” about the nature of science (NOS), whose goal is to teach students only those characteristics of science on which there is wide consensus. This is an attractive view, but it has some shortcomings and weaknesses. In this article we present and defend an alternative approach based on the notion of family resemblance. We argue that the family resemblance approach is superior to the consensus view in several ways, which we discuss in some detail.


Scientific Discipline Mathematical Practice Family Resemblance Scientific Methodology Consensus View 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We would like to thank the three anonymous referees for their useful comments from which we have benefited. Gurol Irzik also acknowledges the support of the Turkish Academy of Sciences.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Sabancı UniversityIstanbulTurkey
  2. 2.University of AucklandAucklandNew Zealand

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