Title

Pakistani grade ten students' conceptions of nature of science

Date of Award

8-1-2010

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Master of Education (M. Ed.)

Department

Institute for Educational Development, Karachi

Abstract

In Pakistan, science students memorize scientific facts and laws without going into the depth of how these were developed. They consider science as a body of knowledge characterized by facts, concepts, laws and theories that are absolute and cannot be changed. The lack of understanding of scientific enterprise is rooted in the education and learning process. An understanding of current view of nature of science (NOS) is considered to be an important element of school science for developing student conceptions. So far, very limited research has been done in NOS and this has been a neglected area in our country (Halai, 2004). This study aims to assess grade ten Pakistani students' conceptions of NOS and whether these conceptions were related to selected variables. These variables include participants' gender, system of schools, students' household income, parents' educational level and students' overall grades in grade nine. A questionnaire comprising 14 modified "Views on Science-Technology-Society" (VOSTS) items was adapted for this study to assess students' views on certain aspects of NOS. After establishing its validity in the Pakistani context through a pilot study, participants' were administered the questionnaire. A multi-stage clustered sampling approach was used to recruit a representative sample (n=508) of science students of grade ten from government (n=11) and private (n=7) schools in three towns of Karachi. Participants' responses were categorized as "naive," "have merit" or "informed" conceptions. The result showed that majority of participant students' held naive views of a majority (nine out of fourteen items, 64%) of the target aspects of NOS. Furthermore, the student views of some NOS aspects were significantly related to the target variables. These included students' gender, their parents' education, students' household income, and students' overall grade in grade nine. Results of this study would provide important information about an under researched area - students' conceptions of NOS. The adapted 14-item VOSTS questionnaire would make a valuable contribution in indigenous literature. Those who want to take the same line of inquiry can use this tool to conduct large scale studies.

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