Advertisement

Research in Science Education

, Volume 33, Issue 2, pp 189–216 | Cite as

Towards an Analysis of Visual Images in School Science Textbooks and Press Articles about Science and Technology

  • Kostas Dimopoulos
  • Vasilis Koulaidis
  • Spyridoula Sklaveniti
Article

Abstract

This paper aims at presenting the application of a grid for the analysis of the pedagogic functions of visual images included in school science textbooks and daily press articles about science and technology. The analysis is made using the dimensions of content specialisation (classification) and social-pedagogic relationships (framing) promoted by the images as well as the elaboration and abstraction of the corresponding visual code (formality), thus combining pedagogical and socio-semiotic perspectives. The grid is applied to the analysis of 2819 visual images collected from school science textbooks and another 1630 visual images additionally collected from the press. The results show that the science textbooks in comparison to the press material: a) use ten times more images, b) use more images so as to familiarise their readers with the specialised techno-scientific content and codes, and c) tend to create a sense of higher empowerment for their readers by using the visual mode. Furthermore, as the educational level of the school science textbooks (i.e., from primary to lower secondary level) rises, the content specialisation projected by the visual images and the elaboration and abstraction of the corresponding visual code also increases. The above results have implications for the terms and conditions for the effective exploitation of visual material as the educational level rises as well as for the effective incorporation of visual images from press material into science classes.

classification formality framing press articles school science textbooks visual images 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Amann, K., & Knorr Cetina, K. (1990). The fixation of (visual) evidence. In M. Lynch & S. Woolgar (Eds.), Representation in scientific practice (pp. 85–122). Cambridge,MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  2. Amettler, J., & Pinto, R. (2002). Students' reading of innovative images of energy at secondary scool level. International Journal of Science Education, 24(3), 285– 312.Google Scholar
  3. Bader, R. (1990). How science news sections influence newspaper science coverage: A case study. Journalism Quarterly, 67(1), 88–96.Google Scholar
  4. Bazerman, C. (1988). Shaping written knowledge: The genre and activity of the experimental article in science. Madison,WI: University of Wisconsin Press.Google Scholar
  5. Bernstein, B. (1996). Pedagogy, symbolic control and identity: Theory, research, critique. London: Taylor and Francis.Google Scholar
  6. Bucchi, M. (1998). Science and the media: Alternative routes in scientific communication. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  7. Bybee, R. (1997). Toward an understanding of scientific literacy. In W. Graber & C. Bolte (Eds.), Scientific literacy (pp. 37–68). Kiel, Germany: Institute for Science Education (IPN).Google Scholar
  8. Colin, P., Chauvet, F., & Viennot, L. (2002). Reading images in optics: Students' dif-ficulties and teachers' views. International Journal of Science Education, 24(3), 313–332.Google Scholar
  9. De Vos, W., & Reiding, J. (1999). Public understanding of science as a separate subject in secondary schools in The Netherlands. International Journal of Science Education, 21(7), 711–719.Google Scholar
  10. Elliott, W., & Rosenberg, W. L. (1987). Media exposure and beliefs about science and technology. Communication Research, 14(2), 164–188.Google Scholar
  11. Gamson, W., & Modigliani, A. (1989). Media discourse and public opinion on nuclear power: A constructionist approach. American Journal of Sociology, 95(1), 1–37.Google Scholar
  12. Gross, A. (1996). The rhetoric of science. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  13. Halliday, M. A. K. (1996). On the language of physical science. In M. A. K. Halliday & J. R. Martin (Eds.), Writing science: Literacy and discursive power (pp. 54– 68). London: The Falmer Press.Google Scholar
  14. Hansen, A., Cottle, S., Negrine, R., & Newbold, C. (1998). Mass communication research methods. London: Macmillan Press.Google Scholar
  15. Hornig Priest, S. (1995). Information equity, public understanding of science and the biotechnology debate. Journal of Communication, 45(1), 39–54.Google Scholar
  16. Irwin, A., & Wynne, B. (1996). Misunderstanding science? The public reconstruction of science and technology. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  17. Jacobi, D. (1999). Le communication scientifique: Discours, figures, modeles (Science communication: Discourse, figures, models). Grenoble, France: Presses Universitaires de Grenoble.Google Scholar
  18. Jacobi, D., & Schiele, B. (1989). Scientific imagery and popularized imagery: Differences and similarities in the photographic portraits of scientists. Social Studies of Science, 19(4), 731–753.Google Scholar
  19. Koulaidis, V., Dimopoulos, K., & Matiatos, S. (in press). Science and technology centers as 'Texts'. Proceedings of the ninth learning conference, Beijing, University of Beijing, July, 2002.Google Scholar
  20. Koulaidis, V., Dimopoulos, K., & Sklaveniti, S. (2002). Analysing the texts of science and technology: School science textbooks and daily press articles in the public domain. In M. Kalantzis, G. Varnava-Skoura, & B. Cope (Eds.), Learning for the future (pp. 209–240). Sydney, NSW: Common Ground.Google Scholar
  21. Kress, G., Jewitt, C., & Tsatsarelis, C. (2000). Knowledge, identity, pedagogy pedagogic discourse and the representational environments of education in late modernity. Linguistics and Education, 11(1), 7–30.Google Scholar
  22. Kress, G., & van Leeuwen, T. (1996). Reading images: The grammar of the visual design. London and New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  23. La Follette, M. C. (1990).Making science our own: Public images of science, 1910– 1955. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  24. Latour, B. (1987). Science in action. Cambridge,MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  25. Layton, D., Jenkins, E., Macgill, S., & Davey, A. (1993). Inarticulate science? Perspectives on the public understanding of science and some implications for science education. Nafferton, UK: Studies in Education Ltd.Google Scholar
  26. Leinhardt, G., Zaslavsky, O., & Stein, M. K. (1990). Functions, graphs and graphing: Tasks, learning and teaching. Review of Educational Research, 60(1), 1–64.Google Scholar
  27. Lemke, J. L. (1993). Talking science: Language, learning, and values. Stamford, CT: Ablex Publishing Corporation.Google Scholar
  28. Lemke, J. L. (1998). Multiplying meaning: Visual and verbal semiotics in scientific text. In J. R. Martin & R. Veel (Eds.), Reading science: Critical and functional perspectives on discourses of science (pp. 87–113). London and New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  29. Lemke, J. L. (2002). Notes on multimedia and hypertext. Online at: http://academic.brooklyn.cuny.edu/education/jlemke/papers/hypermodality/ travels-app.htmGoogle Scholar
  30. Lijnse, P. L., Eijkelhof, M. C., Klaasen, W. J. M., & Scholte, R. L. J. (1990). Pupils' and mass-media ideas about radioactivity. International Journal of Science Education, 12(1), 67–78.Google Scholar
  31. Lynch, M. (1985). Discipline and the material form of images: An analysis of scientific visibility. Social Studies of Science, 15(1), 37–66.Google Scholar
  32. Lynch, M. (1990). The externalized retina: Selection and mathematization in the visual documentation of objects in the life sciences. In M. Lynch & S. Woolgar (Eds.), Representation in scientific practice (pp. 153–186).Cambridge,MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  33. Messaris, P. (1994). Visual 'literacy': Image, mind and reality. Oxford, UK: West-View Press.Google Scholar
  34. Meyrowitz, J. (1986). Television and interpersonal behaviour: Codes of perception and response. In G. Gumpert & R. Cathcart (Eds.), Inter/media: Interpersonal communication in a media world (pp. 253–272). New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  35. Miller, T. (1998). Visual persuasion: A comparison of visuals in academic texts and the popular press. English for Specific Purposes, 17(1), 29–46.Google Scholar
  36. Myers, G. (1990a). Writing biology: The social construction of popular science. Madison,WI: University of Wisconsin Press.Google Scholar
  37. Myers, G. (1990b). Every picture tells a story: Illustrations in E. O. Wilson's sociobiology. In M. Lynch & S. Woolgar (Eds.), Representation in scientific practice (pp. 231–265). Cambridge,MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  38. Myers, G. (1995). Words and pictures in a biology textbook. In T. Miller (Ed.), Functional approaches to written text: Classroom applications (pp. 113–126). Paris: TESOL.Google Scholar
  39. Nelkin, D. (1995). Selling science: How press covers science and technology. New York: W. H. Freeman.Google Scholar
  40. Phillips L. M., & Norris, S. P. (1999). Interpreting popular reports of science: What happens when the reader's world meets the world on paper. International Journal of Science Education, 21(3), 317–327.Google Scholar
  41. Pinto, R., & Ametller, J. (2002). Students' difficulties in reading images: Comparing results from four national research groups. International Journal of Science Education, 24(3), 333–341.Google Scholar
  42. Roth, W. M., Bowen, G. M., & McGinn, M. K. (1999). Differences in graph-related practices between high school biology textbooks and scientific ecology journals. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 36(9), 977–1019.Google Scholar
  43. Roth, W.M., & Laweless, D. (2002). Science, culture and the emergence of language. Science Education, 86(3), 368–385.Google Scholar
  44. Trumbo, J. (1999). Visual literacy and science communication. Science Communication, 20(4), 409–425.Google Scholar
  45. Veel, R. (1998). The greening of school science: Ecogenesis in secondary classrooms. In J. R. Martin & R. Veel (Eds.), Reading science: Critical and functional perspectives on discourses of science (pp. 114–149). London and New York: Routledge.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kostas Dimopoulos
    • 1
  • Vasilis Koulaidis
    • 2
  • Spyridoula Sklaveniti
    • 2
  1. 1.University of the AegeanTurkey
  2. 2.University of PatrasGreece

Personalised recommendations