Science & Education

, Volume 22, Issue 10, pp 2679–2707 | Cite as

Relating Science and Religion: An Ontology of Taxonomies and Development of a Research Tool for Identifying Individual Views

  • Pratchayapong Yasri
  • Shagufta Arthur
  • Mike U. Smith
  • Rebecca MancyEmail author


Understanding how individuals view the relationship between science and religion shows promise for explaining a range of aspects of teaching and learning in science. Several taxonomies, consisting of different views by which people relate science and religion, can be found in the philosophical literature. However, most of the science education literature uses these taxonomies selectively and with limited justification, hindering comparison between existing and future studies. The first aim of this paper is therefore to provide a comprehensive review of the different taxonomies described in the literature and to organise the different views according to their similarities and differences. The second aim of the paper is to present a new research tool developed on the basis of the findings of the literature review. This tool consists of a short questionnaire allowing educational researchers to identify the different viewpoints held by pre-service teachers, undergraduates majoring in biology and school learners. We present the tool itself and demonstrate its usefulness and versatility for future science education research based on three empirical studies covering a range of geographical areas, religious backgrounds, educational levels, age groups and genders.


Philosophical Literature Natural Theology Contrast View Educational Literature Religious Knowledge 
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 wish to thank to the Royal Thai Government for the financial support provided to the first author throughout this study and the five anonymous referees for their comments on earlier drafts of the manuscript. We also wish to thank John McColl for helpful conversations about this work.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pratchayapong Yasri
    • 1
    • 2
  • Shagufta Arthur
    • 1
  • Mike U. Smith
    • 3
  • Rebecca Mancy
    • 1
    • 4
    Email author
  1. 1.School of EducationUniversity of GlasgowGlasgowScotland, UK
  2. 2.Institute for Innovative LearningMahidol UniversityNakorn PathomThailand
  3. 3.School of MedicineMercer UniversityMaconUSA
  4. 4.Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health and Comparative MedicineUniversity of GlasgowGlasgowScotland, UK

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