Research in Science Education

, Volume 28, Issue 1, pp 23–49 | Cite as

Methodological considerations for studying science-in-the-making in educational settings

  • Gregory J. Kelly
  • Catherine Chen
  • Teresa Crawford
Literature and Implications


In this paper we explore the methodological implications of sociocultural approaches for the study of scientific knowledge and practices. Research in science studies and science education is reviewed with a focus on methodological considerations. Informed by empirically-based studies of scientific practices from multiple disciplinary perspectives, we describe our perspective for investigating science education which combines ethnography and discourse analysis. This theoretical position on the discursive nature of the social construction of school science-in-the-making forms the basis for theoretical and methodological critique and discussion. We provide a review of the history of nature of science (NOS) research to trace the methodological influence of Science and Technology Studies in science education. Four methodological issues associated with studying science as cultural practices are discussed: the local and contingent nature of situated definitions of science; theory dependence and coherence of research methodologies; attention to the study of school science-in-the-making; and reflexivity.


Science Education Science Classroom Technology Study Classroom Interaction Discourse Process 
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.


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Copyright information

© Australian Science Research Association 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gregory J. Kelly
    • 1
  • Catherine Chen
    • 1
  • Teresa Crawford
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of EducationUniversity of CaliforniaSanta BarbaraUSA

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