Scientific Literacy and Cultural Studies Project (SLCSP)
Western Michigan University


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All of the following are roughly worded investigation topics that are approachable by devising research based on the logico-structural worldview model and using investigative approaches similar to current work on student conceptualizations of nature.

1. If science is a bastion of "masculinity" as feminist critics charge, is there a filtering effect in science education that only facilitates the science success of only those girls and young women most comfortable in a masculine world? Focus could be university senior female science majors. There are published reports on computer science education that say something similar.

2. Question #1 could also be done at the high school level but I think it better done at the university level.

3. Questions #1 & 2 could also be asked about specific minority groups such as African Americans with the appropriate substitution for "masculinity." Also see question #6 below.

4. High school science textbooks could be analyzed by the worldview categories of classification, relationship, nonself, and causality. What is the Big Picture a textbook paints of the world? I think this could also be extended to what is the Big Picture a teacher or curriculum framework is painting?

5. I have preliminary data on high school science teachers that indicates that biology and physics teachers have much different conceptualizations of nature. This could be followed up and extended.

6. My work on ninth graders' conceptualizations of nature could be extended to older students and to students with a different set of demographics (e.g., urban, poor, Black, Hispanic).

7. Assertions in my work having to do with conservation attitudes, and gender and religious differences would be worth following up and extended.

8. There are classroom interaction studies worth doing. For example, one could video a series of lessons and then devise an logico-structural based set of interview protocols to use with both students and teacher as the videos are watched. The notion here would be to elucidate at a deeper level the meaning students come to from a lesson vis-`-vis the meaning intended (explicitly or otherwise) by the teacher.

9. What is the nature of science? There is much in the science education literature that speaks to this question but it is all grounded in philosophy. An anthropological analysis (i.e., worldview analysis) by way of contrast would be interesting. It might provide insight to teachers' difficulties with the nature of science and on research findings that teacher views on NOS are not easily identified in their teaching.

10. Similarly, one could analyze documents on scientific literacy and offer a more anthropological approach to what education goals for science might be.

11. There is rising concern about levels of "anti-science" attitudes among students. If one could identify such students then a logico-structural worldview analysis of their beliefs could be informative.