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Exploring New Zealand year 11 students' understanding of Nature of Science concepts

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posted on 14.11.2021, 06:21 by Northcott, Blair Daniel

Nature of Science (NOS) is a core part of science education. Extensive effort has gone into establishing educationally appropriate NOS tenets, teaching practices and assessments tools. However, while previous research has identified the importance of prior knowledge in science education, there is limited research that investigates students’ prior knowledge and beliefs about NOS. This information is critical in identifying what teachers need to target in order develop informed NOS beliefs amongst students. In this study the NOS beliefs of year 11 secondary school students in New Zealand were explored using a mixed methods approach. Factor analysis of the students’ (N=502) NOS questionnaire responses revealed that students’ conceptions of NOS differed from the constructs identified in the NOS literature. Coding of the purposively selected sample of student interviews (n=22) revealed a naïve realist model of science was common. This model along with the alternative constructs provided insights into students’ NOS conceptions. The findings were used to develop a model that could help teachers’ better identify explicit and implicit teaching practices to help students develop more appropriate NOS models.


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Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

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Author Retains Copyright

Degree Discipline


Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code

970113 Expanding Knowledge in Education

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Doctoral Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Educational Psychology and Pedagogy


McCrudden, Matt; Moeed, Azra