International Journal of Science Education (Int J Sci Educ )

Publisher: Taylor & Francis


The International Journal of Science Education is firmly established as the authoritative voice in the world of science education. It bridges the gap between research and practice, providing information, ideas and opinion. It serves as a medium for the publication of definitive research findings. Special emphasis is placed on applicable research relevant to educational practice, guided by educational realities in systems, schools, colleges and universities. The journal is comprises peer-reviewed general articles, papers on innovations and developments, research reports and book reviews. Each volume contains a Special Issue devoted to a topic of major interest and importance, guest-edited by an acknowledged expert. Recent Special Issues have featured environmental education and policy and practice in science education.

Impact factor 1.23

  • 5-year impact
  • Cited half-life
  • Immediacy index
  • Eigenfactor
  • Article influence
  • Website
    International Journal of Science Education website
  • Other titles
    International journal of science education, IJSE
  • ISSN
  • OCLC
  • Material type
    Periodical, Internet resource
  • Document type
    Journal / Magazine / Newspaper, Internet Resource

Publisher details

Taylor & Francis

  • Pre-print
    • Author can archive a pre-print version
  • Post-print
    • Author can archive a post-print version
  • Conditions
    • Some individual journals may have policies prohibiting pre-print archiving
    • On author's personal website or departmental website immediately
    • On institutional repository or subject-based repository after either 12 months embargo for STM, Behavioural Science and Public Health Journals or 18 months embargo for SSH journals
    • Publisher's version/PDF cannot be used
    • On a non-profit server
    • Published source must be acknowledged
    • Must link to publisher version
    • Set statements to accompany deposits (see policy)
    • The publisher will deposit in on behalf of authors to a designated institutional repository including PubMed Central, where a deposit agreement exists with the repository
    • STM: Science, Technology and Medicine
    • SSH: Social Science and Humanities
    • Publisher last contacted on 25/03/2014
    • 'Taylor & Francis (Psychology Press)' is an imprint of 'Taylor & Francis'
  • Classification
    ​ green

Publications in this journal

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The purpose of this case study was to explore the ways in which 3 different informal science experiences in the context of an elementary methods course influenced a group of prospective elementary teachers’ ideas about science teaching and learning as well as their understandings about the role of informal science environments to teaching and learning. In order to address this question, data were collected in a period of an academic semester through the following sources: journal entries for each of the 3 experiences, a personal teaching philosophy statement and a 2-hour long semi-structured interview with each of the 12 participants. Open coding techniques were used to analyze the data in order to construct categories and subcategories and eventually to identify emerging themes. The outcomes of the analysis showed that the inclusion of informal science experiences in the context of teacher preparation has the potential to support beginning elementary teachers’ development of contemporary ideas about science teaching and learning related to inquiry-based science, the nature of scientific work and the work of scientists, connecting science with everyday life, and making science fun and personally meaningful. These findings are discussed alongside implications for policy, teacher preparation, and research under these themes: (a) addressing reform recommendations; (b) developing positive orientations toward science and science teaching; and (c) constructing understandings about scientists’ work.
    International Journal of Science Education 10/2015; 37(1):108-135.
  • International Journal of Science Education 01/2015;
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: In recent years, there has been a rhetorical shift from ‘deficit’ to ‘dialogue’ and ‘engagement’ in UK policy and institutional discourse about science communication. Past efforts to reduce public scientific literacy deficits have been overshadowed by calls for dialogue between scientists, science communicators and non-scientists. However, it is unclear how this rhetorical shift has translated into a real change in the guiding principles and practices of UK science engagement. This study investigates reported practices and discourse of UK science engagement practitioners from a variety of professional backgrounds. Quantitative and qualitative data were gathered using questionnaires and focus groups. The analysis employed a theoretical lens informed by Bourdieu’s theory of practice, Irwin’s taxonomy of first (deficit), second (dialogue) and third (contextual) ‘orders’ of engagement, and theoretical conceptualizations of social change from cultural psychology and sociology. Results suggest participating practitioners’ reported experience was predominately first order, although current definitions and discussions of engagement by a small number of practitioners indicate some limited acceptance of dialogue-oriented thinking. Such potential movement from past practice to current thinking is highly contingent however, not least because so few practitioners had experienced second or third order engagement. The implications of these findings are explored both in terms of understanding patterns in UK science engagement and what they portend for Bourdieu's theory of practice and social change.
    International Journal of Science Education 01/2015;
  • International Journal of Science Education 11/2014;
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Climate change generally and global warming specifically have become a common feature of the daily news. Due to widespread recognition of the adverse consequences of climate change on human lives, concerted societal effort has been taken to address it (e.g. by means of the science curriculum). This study was designed to test the effect that child-centred, 5E learning cyclebased climate change activities would have over more traditional teacher-centred activities on Malaysian Year 5 primary students (11 years). A quasi-experimental design involving a treatment (n ¼ 55) and a group representing typical teaching method (n ¼ 60) was used to measure the effectiveness of these activities on (a) increasing children’s knowledge about global warming; (b) changing their attitudes to be more favourable towards the environment and (c) identify the relationship between knowledge and attitude that exist in this study. Statistically significant differences in favour of the treatment group were detected for both knowledge and environmental attitudes. Non-significant relationship was identified between knowledge and attitude in this study. Interviews with randomly selected students from treatment and comparison groups further underscore these findings. Implications are discussed.
    International Journal of Science Education 09/2014;
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: This exploratory study applied a proposed force and motion learning progression (LP) to high-school and university students and to content involving both one- and two-dimensional force and motion situations. The Force Concept Inventory (FCI) was adapted, based on a previous content analysis and coding of the questions in the FCI in terms of the level descriptors of the LP. Using a Rasch measurement model and latent class analysis, students' responses were tested for fit with the proposed LP. Results indicated that the recoded FCI response options are generally consistent with a progression of difficulties as proposed in the LP, and that the students could be organized into different groups with progressively different levels of ability. However, reliability for the ability estimates was only moderate and response options at lower levels of the LP were not well differentiated. Implications for the assessments with LPs and revisions for both the FCI and the force and motion LP are also discussed.
    International Journal of Science Education 07/2014;
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The concept of energy is one key component of science education curricula worldwide. While it is still being taught in many science classrooms from a mainly conceptual knowledge perspective, the need to frame the concept of energy as a socioscientific issue and implement it in the context of citizenship education and education for sustainable development, is getting more and more explicit. As we will be faced with limited fossil fuels and the consequences of global climate change in the future, students have to be supported in becoming literate citizens who are able to reach informed energy-related decisions. In this article, we focus on students’ reasoning and decision-making processes about socioscientific energy-related issues. In more detail, we developed a paper-and-pencil measurement instrument to assess secondary school students’ competencies in this domain. The functioning of the measurement instrument was analysed with a sample of 850 students from grades 6, 8, 10 and 12 using item response theory. Findings show that the measurement instrument functions in terms of reliability and validity. Concerning student ability, elaborate reasoning and decision-making was characterised by the use of trade-offs and the ability to weigh arguments and to reflect on the structure of reasoning and decision-making processes. The developed measurement instrument provides a complement for existing test instruments on conceptual knowledge about the concept of energy. It aims to contribute to a change in teaching about energy, especially in physics education in the sense of education for sustainable development.
    International Journal of Science Education 06/2014;
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: This study explores pre-service teachers’ past interactions with ‘place’ in outdoor settings and how these experiences contribute to their current perceptions of the importance of taking their own students into the outdoors. Specifically, the researchers were interested in investigating if current pre-service teachers are part of the ‘nature-deficit disorder’ generation described by Louv in his book, Last child in the woods: Saving our children from nature-deficit disorder (2005), as a generation of children growing up without direct experiences in nature. Study participants included 148 undergraduate pre-service elementary teachers enrolled in science teaching methods instructional courses at an urban college in the Northeastern United States and two suburban universities in the Southeastern United States. Participants wrote essay responses after reading Louv’s Last Child in the Woods in which they were asked to relate the reading to their own past experiences and their ideas about elementary science education. Results indicate that a large majority of participants (97%) describe significant youth experiences in the outdoors, view nature as important in varying ways (89.9%), and express a desire to expose their own students to the outdoors (65.5%). Key findings are illustrated with direct quotations from the pre-service teachers’ essay responses, as they write vividly of their interactions in outdoor places, referred to as ‘place meanings’. Implications are presented for teacher educators working with pre-service teachers to build upon their outdoor experiences and prepare them for implementing naturebased instruction.
    International Journal of Science Education 05/2014;
  • International Journal of Science Education 05/2014; 36(9):1412-1433.
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: This study was launched from a National Science Foundation GK-12 grant in which graduate fellows in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) are placed in classrooms to engage K-12 students in STEM activities. The investigation explored whether the STEM Fellows' presence impacted the K-12 students' stereotypical image of a scientist. Since finding a valid instrument is critical, the study involved (1) determining the validity of the commonly administered Draw-A-Scientist Test (DAST) against a newly designed six-question survey and (2) using a combination of both instruments to determine what stereotypes are currently held by children. A pretest–posttest design was used on 485 students, grades 3–11, attending 6 different schools in suburban and rural Maine communities. A significant but low positive correlation was found between the DAST and the survey; therefore, it is imperative that the DAST not be used alone, but corroboration with interviews or survey questions should occur. Pretest results revealed that the children held common stereotypes of scientists, but these stereotypes were neither as extensive nor did they increase with the grade level as past research has indicated, suggesting that a shift has occurred with children having a broader concept of who a scientist can be. Finally, the presence of an STEM Fellow corresponded with decreased stereotypes in middle school and high school, but no change in elementary age children. More research is needed to determine whether this reflects resiliency in elementary children's perceptions or limitations in either drawing or in writing out their responses.
    International Journal of Science Education 04/2014;
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: This study explores the development of professional identity as a teacher of nature of science (NOS). Our research question was ‘How can a teacher develop a professional identity as an elementary teacher of NOS?’ Through a researcher log, videotaped lessons, and collection of student work, we were able to track efforts in teaching NOS as part of regular classroom practice. A team of four researchers interpreted the data through the Beijaard et al. professional identity framework and found that it was not as simple and straightforward to teach NOS as we predicted. Development of professional identity as a teacher of NOS was influenced by contextual factors such as students, administration, and time, as well as personal struggles that were fraught with emotion. Development took place through an interpretation and reinterpretation of self through external factors and others’ perceptions, as well as the influence of sub-identities.
    International Journal of Science Education 04/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: This paper reports on a case study of an immersive and integrated multi-instructional approach (namely computer-based model introduction and connection with content; facilitation of individual student exploration guided by exploratory worksheet; use of associated differentiated labs and use of model-based assessments) in the implementation of coupled computer-based models and assessment in a high-school chemistry classroom. Data collection included in-depth teacher interviews, classroom observations, student interviews and researcher notes. Teacher conceptions highlighted the role of models as tools; the benefits of abstract portrayal via visualizations; appropriate enactment of model implementation; concerns with student learning and issues with time. The case study revealed numerous challenges reconciling macro, submicro and symbolic phenomena with the NetLogo model. Nonetheless, the effort exhibited by the teacher provided a platform to support the evolution of practice over time. Students' reactions reflected a continuum of confusion and benefits which were directly related to their background knowledge and experiences with instructional modes. The findings have implications for the role of teacher knowledge of models, the modeling process and pedagogical content knowledge; the continuum of student knowledge as novice users and the role of visual literacy in model decoding, comprehension and translation.
    International Journal of Science Education 02/2014; 36(3):467-505.
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: It is a common view that developing teachers’ competence to restructure or reframe their knowledge and beliefs is inevitably a complex challenge. This paper reports on a research project with the aim to develop science teachers’ pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) through their participation in a learning study. A learning study is a collegial process in which teachers work together with a researcher to explore their own teaching activities in order to identify what is critical for their students’ learning. During one semester, three secondary science teachers worked in a learning study together with a researcher in a cyclical process in order to create prerequisites and further identify conditions for students’ learning. During the learning study, data were collected from video-recorded lessons and stimulated recall sessions in which the teachers and the researcher reflected on the lessons to analyze their development of PCK, their students’ learning and the impact of that knowledge on their own teaching. The results provide an insight into how the teachers developed their self-understanding in which they questioned their own epistemological beliefs, aims and objectives of teaching and taken-for-granted assumptions about science teaching and learning. As such, the study provides an understanding of teacher professional learning through a careful investigation of how teachers’ PCK is enhanced through their participation in the learning study, and further, how students’ learning might be developed as a consequence.
    International Journal of Science Education 01/2014;
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Research in the field of students’ understandings of models and their use in science describes different frameworks concerning these understandings. Currently, there is no conjoint framework that combines these structures and so far, no investigation has focused on whether it reflects students' understandings sufficiently (empirical evaluation). Therefore, the purpose of this article is to present the results of an empirical evaluation of a conjoint theoretical framework. The theoretical framework integrates relevant research findings and comprises five aspects which are subdivided into three levels each: nature of models, multiple models, purpose of models, testing, and changing models. The study was conducted with a sample of 1,177 seventh to tenth graders (aged 11–19 years) using open-ended items. The data were analysed by identifying students' understandings of models (nature of models and multiple models) and their use in science (purpose of models, testing, and changing models), and comparing as well as assigning them to the content of the theoretical framework. A comprehensive category system of students' understandings was thus developed. Regarding the empirical evaluation, the students' understandings of the nature and the purpose of models were sufficiently described by the theoretical framework. Concerning the understandings of multiple, testing, and changing models, additional initial understandings (only one model possible, no testing of models, and no change of models) need to be considered. This conjoint and now empirically tested framework for students' understandings can provide a common basis for future science education research. Furthermore, evidence-based indications can be provided for teachers and their instructional practice.
    International Journal of Science Education 01/2014;