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Challenging Existing Norms and Practices: Ethical Thinking at the Science Education research Boundaries

  • Jaume AmetllerEmail author
Chapter
Part of the Cultural Studies of Science Education book series (CSSE, volume 20)

Abstract

This chapter discusses current ethical challenges in science education research in terms of their nature and their origins. Three domains are proposed to address the nature of the ethical issues: social responsibility of the research, individual protection of participants’ rights, and the content being taught in science lessons. The chapter explores two elements that can be used to understand the sources of the challenges: onto-epistemological frameworks of the research and characteristics of science education researchers. The choices of ontological and epistemological elements underpinning the research are helpful at both accounting for changes in the ethical issues confronted by the field and at connecting with the choice and implementation of research methodologies, which is usually seen as a very significant source of research ethics issues. Research methodologies is an element of science education research that has seen significant changes in the past years due to socialisation of technologies which have impacted the practice of science education and science education research. The second source of ethical issues being proposed is connected to some of the defining characteristics of science education researchers. The concept of boundary actor is suggested as a way of studying how these characteristics impact on the research and ethical practices of researchers. Elements of sociomaterial and actor-network theories are used to connect the two suggested sources of ethical issues and to help justify a proposal for addressing them. This proposal takes into consideration currently accepted guidelines while stressing elements of virtue ethics and the need for more open and shared reflection on research ethics to effectively face ethical issues and both suggest ethical practices and provide an opportunity to reflect on the field of science education itself and its social impact and responsibility.

Keywords

Boundary actors Actor-network theory Science education Research ethics Sociomaterial Assemblage theory 

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Specific DidacticsUniversity of GironaGironaSpain

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