Translations of Scientific Practice

  • Michiel van Eijck
  • Wolff-Michael Roth
Part of the Cultural Studies of Science Education book series (CSSE, volume 7)


In this chapter, we feature “students’ images of science.” In the science education research literature, it often appears to be assumed that students “possess” such “images of science” that directly correspond to their experiences with scientific practice in science curricula. From cultural–historical and sociocultural perspectives, this assumption is problematic because scientific practices are collective human activities and are therefore neither identical with students’ experiences nor with the accounts of these experiences that students make available to researchers. “Students’ images of science” are therefore translated from (rather than directly correspond to) scientific practices. Drawing on data collected during and after pre-university biology students’ internships in a scientific laboratory, we exemplify the role of these translations in the production of “students’ images of science.” A coarse-grained analysis based on existing research showed our data to be comparable with earlier studies on “students’ images of science.” A fine-grained analysis shows how “students’ images of science” were coproduced along a trajectory of translations that was determined by the use of particular actions and tools and a particular division of labor in scientific practice. We propose to reconceptualize “students’ images of science” as particular coproductions at a given point in time. Thus, one step toward a novelized discourse in science education is to take such images as single time frames produced in collective, discursive practice rather than as individuals’ eternal mental states.


High School Student Scientific Practice Science Curriculum Boundary Object Knowledge Claim 
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.


  1. Bakhtin, M. M. (1981). The dialogic imagination. Austin: University of Texas Press.Google Scholar
  2. Bakhtin, M. M. (1984b). Rabelais and his world. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Driver, R., Leach, J., Millar, R., & Scott, P. (1996). Young people’s images of science. Buckingham: Open University Press.Google Scholar
  4. Leach, J., Millar, R., Ryder, J., & Séré, M. G. (2000). Epistemological understanding in science learning: The consistency of representations across contexts. Learning and Instruction, 10, 497–527.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Ricœur, P. (1973). The model of the text: Meaningful action considered as a text. New Literary History, 5, 91–117.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Roth, W.-M., & Lee, Y.-J. (2007). “Vygotsky’s neglected legacy”: Cultural-historical activity theory. Review of Educational Research, 77, 186–232.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Ryder, J., Leach, J., & Driver, R. (1999). Undergraduate science students’ images of science. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 36, 201–219.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Séré, M. G., Fernández-González, M., Gallegos, J. A., González-García, F., De Manuel, E., Perales, F. J., & Leach, J. (2001). Images of science linked to labwork: A survey of secondary school and university students. Research in Science Education, 31, 499–523.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michiel van Eijck
    • 1
  • Wolff-Michael Roth
    • 2
  1. 1.Eindhoven School of EducationEindhoven University of TechnologyEindhovenThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Griffith Institute for Educational ResearchGriffith UniversityGriffithAustralia

Personalised recommendations