Encyclopedia of Science Education

Living Edition
| Editors: Richard Gunstone

Experiments

Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-007-6165-0_456-2

Synonyms

Intervention; Hypothesis testing; Practical work

The word “experiment” is used in different contexts to mean different things. School pupils, in the UK anyhow, often use it to mean any practical activity that they undertake in a science lesson. Teachers and science educators often talk about “experiments” in a similarly general way. Practical activities used in science teaching, however, differ widely in their aims and purposes and not all are “experiments.”

The philosopher of science, Ian Hacking (1983), characterizes an experiment as an intervention – where someone (a scientist or a school student) does something in order to create a phenomenon that can then be observed, either qualitatively or quantitatively (by making measurements). This contrasts with situations where data are collected by observing an event or phenomenon that is happening anyhow. In some sciences (physics, chemistry, some aspects of biology), experiments are the dominant form of investigation. In other...

Keywords

Science Education Laboratory Work Double Helix Practical Work Practical Activity 
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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References

  1. Campbell DT, Stanley JC (1963) Experimental and quasi-experimental designs for research on teaching. In: Gage N (ed) Handbook of research on teaching. Rand McNally, Chicago, pp 171–246Google Scholar
  2. Carey S, Evans R, Honda M, Jay E, Unger C (1989) ‘An experiment is when you try it and see if it works’: a study of grade 7 students’ understanding of the construction of scientific knowledge. Int J Sci Educ 11(5):514–529CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Duveen J, Scott L, Solomon J (1993) Pupils’ understanding of science: description of experiments or ‘a passion to explain’? Sch Sci Rev 75(271):19–27Google Scholar
  4. Hacking I (1983) Representing and intervening. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EducationUniversity of YorkHeslington, YorkUK