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This research paper war originally presented at the annual meeting of the National Association for Research in Science Teaching, San Francisco, March 1989. This research was funded by a grant from the Sid Richardson Endowment at Austin College.

Some of the most interesting work currently being done in science education research is with scientifically misconceived ideas about the causes and mechanisms of natural phenomena, or as it is more simply referred to, misconception research. This type of research can be dated as early as the sixties (see Kuethe, 1963; Boyd, 1966); but it came into its own with the 1983 and 1987 international symposia on misconception research in science and mathematics education held at Cornell University (Helms & Novak). Researchers have demonstrated that students do not come into the science classroom with minds tabula rasa, but that students bring with them ideas and values about the natural world that they have formulated on based on their own socio-cultural environment or from previous educational experiences. As scientifically acceptable explanations, some of these ideas are simply inaccurate, others are quite close if not essentially correct. Some students come into class already holding a high view of science. Others come with value systems that will readily incorporate a high view of science given the proper circumstances. Others are prepared to resist.


SLCSP Paper # 88

Published Citation

Cobern, William W. "Worldview Theory and Science Education Research: Fundamental Epistemological Structure as a Critical Factor in Science Learning and Attitude Development." National Association for Research in Science Teaching. San Francisco, CA. March 1989.