Students' conceptions of the nature of science: Perspectives from Canadian and Korean middle school students
This study examined and compared students' understanding of nature of science (NOS) with 521 Grade 8 Canadian and Korean students using a mixed methods approach. The concepts of NOS were measured using a survey that had both quantitative and qualitative elements. Descriptive statistics and one-way multivariate analysis of variances examined the quantitative data while a conceptually clustered matrix classified the open-ended responses. The country effect could explain 3-12 % of the variances of subjectivity, empirical testability and diverse methods, but it was not significant for the concepts of tentativeness and socio-cultural embeddedness of science. The open-ended responses showed that students believed scientific theories change due to errors or discoveries. Students regarded empirical evidence as undeniable and objective although they acknowledged experiments depend on theories or scientists' knowledge. The open responses revealed that national situations and curriculum content affected their views. For our future democratic citizens to gain scientific literacy, science curricula should include currently acknowledged NOS concepts and should be situated within societal and cultural perspectives.