Science & Education

, Volume 24, Issue 9–10, pp 1079–1102 | Cite as

The Contextual Nature of Scientists’ Views of Theories, Experimentation, and Their Coordination

  • William A. SandovalEmail author
  • Elizabeth H. Redman


Practicing scientists’ views of science recently have become a topic of interest to nature of science researchers. Using an interview protocol developed by Carey and Smith that assumes respondents’ views cohere into a single belief system, we asked 15 research chemists to discuss their views of theories and experimentation. Respondents expressed a range of ideas about science during interviews, but in ways that defied assignment to a unitary, coherent belief system. Instead, scientists expressed more or less constructivist ideas depending upon the questions asked. We interpret our findings to suggest that efforts to categorize such conceptions at best oversimplify, and at worst misconstrue, people’s views about science and how such ideas might develop.


Scientific Knowledge Theory Building Epistemic Belief Professional Scientist Thematic Code 
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.


Conflict of interest

The author’s do not have any conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Graduate School of Education and Information StudiesUniversity of California, Los AngelesLos AngelesUSA

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