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Sci & Educ (2017) 26:919–951

https://doi.org/10.1007/s11191-017-9939-6

A RT I C L E

Learner Characteristics and Understanding
Nature of Science
Is There an Association?

Gamze Çetinkaya-Aydın 1 & Jale Çakıroğlu
1

Published online: 17 November 2017
# Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2017

Abstract The purpose of this study was to investigate the possible associations between
preservice science teachers’ understanding of nature of science and their learner characteristics;
understanding of nature of scientific inquiry, science teaching self-efficacy beliefs,
metacognitive awareness level, and faith/worldview schemas. The sample of the current study
was 60 3rd-year preservice science teachers enrolled in the Nature of Science and History of
Science course. Using a descriptive and associational case study design, data were collected by
means of different qualitative and quantitative questionnaires. Analysis of the data revealed
that preservice science teachers’ understanding of nature of science and nature of scientific
inquiry were highly associated. Similarly, science teaching self-efficacy beliefs, metacognitive
awareness levels, and faith/worldviews of the preservice science teachers were found to be
significantly associated with their understanding of nature of science. Thus, it can be concluded
that there might be other factors interfering with the learning processes of nature of science.

1 Introduction

Developing scientific literacy, first described by Paul DeHart Hurd (1958) as understanding
science and its applications, is an important aim of science education. Since the 1950s,
understanding the nature of science (NOS) has been accepted as a crucial component of
scientific literacy in which students learn how science is done; how scientific knowledge is
generated, tested, and validated; and how scientists work (McComas 2014; McComas et al.
1998). In particular, NOS has been considered to help students understand scientific processes,
make informed decisions regarding socio-scientific issues, value science as an important
element of culture, be aware of the norms of scientific communities, and deeply acquire
science content (Deng et al. 2011). NOS has been identified as an important and critical

* Gamze Çetinkaya-Aydın
gamzecetinkaya@gmail.com

1
Faculty of Education, Department of Mathematics and Science Education, Middle East Technical
University, Cankaya, 06800 Ankara, Turkey

920 G. Çetinkaya-Aydin, J. Çakiroğlu

learning outcome by various science education documents all around the world (Lederman
2007). Similarly, in Turkey, since 1998, there have been various efforts to reform K-12
education (Doğan et al. 2014) and the latest science and technology programs (Ministry of
National Education [MoNE] 2006, 2013) have placed a great emphasis on the development of
scientific literacy and an understanding of NOS.
Despite contemporary reform efforts in science education having strongly emphasized the
importance of developing an adequate understanding of NOS, there are various different
definitions of NOS, with no single definition being accepted as the correct one. One of the most
cited definitions of NOS was given as Bthe epistemology of science, science as a way of knowing,
or values and beliefs inherent to the development of scientific knowledge^ (Lederman 1992, p.
331). In recent years, there have been other attempts to define NOS as Bfeatures of science,^
including the epistemological, historical, psychological, social, technological, and economic
elements (Matthews 2012). Although a single universally accepted definition of the term NOS
is lacking, the debate related to the meaning of NOS is irrelevant to K-12 science instruction and
there is an agreement on some general aspects of NOS that should be understood by teachers,
students, and all scientifically literate people (Lederman et al. 2014a, b). The identification of
these general aspects of NOS (i.e., empirical-basis, tentativeness, creativity, subjectivity, socio-
cultural embeddedness, the differences between observation and inference, and the differences
between scientific laws and theories) is important since it offers science educators a pedagogical
road map to address students’ misconceptions related to NOS (Kampourakis 2016).
Accepted as being a critical component of scientific literacy, students’ meaningful under-
standing of NOS has been an important objective of science education (Abd-El-Khalick and
Lederman 2000). However, students across the world are still found to possess naive views of
NOS (e.g., Abd-El-Khalick 2012; Akerson and Donnelly 2010; Doğan 2011; İbrahim et al.
2009). Similarly, most of the studies conducted with science teachers have revealed that they
do not possess a contemporary understanding of NOS (e.g., Doğan et al. 2011; Clough 2006;
Herman et al. 2013; Morrison et al. 2009; Wahbeh and Abd-El-Khalick 2014); thus, much
should be done to help them improve their NOS views. The situation with preservice science
teachers (PSTs) is also not different from students and science teachers; not only descriptive
studies but also the pre-test results of intervention studies have consistently showed that most
of the PSTs held a naive understanding of NOS (e.g., Akerson et al. 2006; Mıhladız and Doğan
2012; Seung et al. 2009). These disappointing results can be considered significant since
regardless of the instruments used, it has been consistently found that students possess
inadequate understanding of NOS (Abd-El-Khalick and Lederman 2000). For this reason,
many studies have been conducted over several decades to test the effectiveness of different
strategies in improving learners’ NOS views (e.g., Akgül 2006; Bell et al. 2011; Deniz and
Akerson 2013; Lin and Chen 2002; McDonald and McRobbie 2012; Yacoubian and
BouJaoude 2010). However, despite these attempts to enhance teachers’ NOS conceptions
by improving instructional strategies, recent studies still reveal that learners have difficulties in
developing adequate views of NOS and these difficulties are thought to be related to the
characteristics of the learners (Akerson and Donnelly 2008).
For this reason, there has been an increase in the number of studies that focus on learner
characteristics that may be related to NOS understanding such as academic variables, gender,
science background, epistemological beliefs, level of motivation, self-efficacy, worldview, and
metacognitive awareness, and this is also an inspiration for the present study. In their study,
Southerland et al. (2006) investigated several factors that might influence the conceptualization
of NOS and found that past science experiences, learning goals, and emotions regarding

Learner Characteristics and Understanding Nature of Science 921

science played a role in participants’ NOS conceptual ecologies whereas the religious beliefs
of participants did not have an effect. In another study, it was found that participants, (1) who
internalized the importance of teaching NOS and had concerns related to being prepared to
teach NOS, (2) who did not see science and religion contradictory to each other, and (3) who
had a deep process orientation to learning, were able to abandon their naive NOS views and
develop a more informed perspective (Abd-El-Khalick and Akerson 2004). Similarly, cultural
values and knowledge of cognition (KoC) levels were found to be related to NOS understand-
ing (Akerson and Donnelly 2008). In addition, the level of NOS understanding, subject-matter
knowledge, and the perceived relationship between them were determined to affect teachers’
learning and teaching NOS (Schwartz and Lederman 2002).

1.1 Purpose of the Study

Inspired by the aforementioned studies, this study aimed to investigate the possible associa-
tions between PSTs’ understanding of NOS, which requires being able to not only understand
science content but also develop ideas for how science proceeds and how scientists work along
with their values, beliefs, and assumptions (Akerson and Buzzelli 2007), and their other learner
characteristics. In the present study, understanding of the nature of scientific inquiry (NOSI),
self-efficacy beliefs regarding science teaching, metacognitive awareness level, and faith
developments were identified as possible characteristics that may be related to NOS under-
standing based on the relevant literature.
Firstly, it was hypothesized that there is an association between the PSTs understanding of
NOS and NOSI. Researchers have emphasized that undertaking scientific inquiry and under-
standing its nature is an important step in being able to understand NOS (Bell et al. 2003).
Secondly, it was hypothesized that PSTs with different levels of NOS understanding would
also differ in terms of their self-efficacy beliefs regarding science teaching. Tekkaya et al.
(2004) and Bleicher and Lindgren (2005) claimed that there is a relationship between science
content knowledge and personal science teaching self-efficacy. Since NOS can be considered
as a specific science topic that all science teachers should know about, there may be a
relationship between science teaching self-efficacy and the understanding of NOS (Bleicher
and Lindgren 2005). Thirdly, the metacognitive awareness level is hypothesized to have an
association with NOS understanding, since the literature suggests that the development of the
level of metacognition is effective in increasing students’ understanding of NOS (Peters and
Kitsantas 2010). Lastly, it was hypothesized that PSTs with different levels of NOS under-
standing would also differ in terms of their faith development: how they conceptualize God or
a higher being and how this conceptualization affects their values and beliefs (Fowler and Dell
2006). It is suggested that PSTs having strong religious beliefs may feel a contradiction
between religious and scientific explanations of certain phenomena; therefore, they may be
less eager to adopt a contemporary understanding of NOS (Muğaloğlu and Bayram 2010).
The specific research questions that guided this study were as follows:

1. Is there an association between the PSTs’ understanding of NOS and NOSI?
2. Do PSTs with different levels of NOS understanding differ in terms of

(a) metacognitive awareness levels?
(b) self-efficacy beliefs regarding science teaching?
(c) faith/worldview schemas?

developing questions. Çakiroğlu 1. . J. Moreover. and communicating findings of the investigations are the abilities required to undertake SI. On the other hand. researchers will become aware of the other variables that may influence their studies. However. not their understanding of NOSI. the findings of this study will provide a basis and reference for future studies regarding ways of improving the quality of NOS instruction. The review of the relevant literature suggests that in most studies related to SI. Although there are many studies related to determining and improving the NOS understanding of PSTs. 2003). acceptance. 2008. a negative relationship between the NOS understanding and a characteristic might indicate that the influence of this variable should be minimized. the scientific knowledge whereas NOSI aspects are those that pertain most to the processes of inquiry. 2013). purposes. knowing how scientists work. p. this study differs in its collection of various data related to different variables from the same group of participants who had received the same NOS instruction. however. According to the National Science Education Standards. 2 Nature of Science and Learner Characteristics 2. p. the understanding of science (Schwartz et al. planning and conducting investigations. learners’ understanding of SI and its characteristics seems to be included in a general title with NOS.922 G. analyzing data and evidence. the focus is generally on the learners’ ability to engage in SI. which is an important component of scientific literacy (National Research Council 1996). 3). The understanding of scientific inquiry refers to epistemological knowledge about the processes of the construction of scientific knowledge (Eastwood et al. The importance of undertaking inquiry in science education has been strongly emphasized.2 Significance of the Study If teachers do not understand NOS themselves. In this way. In addition. 3). using models and explanations. Çetinkaya-Aydin. 2008). in this way. A positive association between the NOS understanding and a particular characteristic might imply that this variable should also be taken into account when trying to improve NOS instruction. 2006). and utility of scientific knowledge^ (Schwartz et al. The present study seeks an answer to the question of whether there are some other factors associated with the PSTs’ understanding of NOS. researchers have emphasized that engaging in SI and understanding its nature is an important step in being able to understand NOS (Bell et al. However. Therefore. NRC ( 2012) also states that students cannot appreciate the nature of scientific knowledge or understand SI without engaging in the practices of inquiry. it is impossible for them to teach appropriate views of NOS (Abd-El-Khalick and Lederman 2000). NOSI and NOS differ from each other as BNOS aspects are those that pertain most to the product of inquiry. and activities should be organized by taking these characteristics into account. the content. including the conventions of development. It is important to identify these characteristics in order to plan effective NOS instruction.1 Nature of Scientific Inquiry Scientific inquiry (SI) refers to Bthe characteristics of the processes through which scientific knowledge is developed. the ‘how’ the knowledge is generated and accepted^ (Schwartz et al. it is an important responsi- bility for science teacher educators to help future science teachers improve their NOS understanding so that they will be able to help their future students develop an informed understanding of NOS (Akerson et al. 2008.

the other one also improves. the instructor presented an effective model NOS lesson every week. The present study aims to contribute to filling this gap by presenting information about the same participants’ understanding of both NOS and NOSI.2 Science Teaching Self-Efficacy Beliefs Self-efficacy beliefs are defined as Bjudgments of how well one can execute courses of action required to deal with prospective situations^ (Bandura 1982. However. In these studies. During the post- interviews. Lederman et al. the individual’s (1) expectations about the outcome of an action based upon prior life experiences and (2) their beliefs about their own ability to cope with practical experiences. For vicarious experiences. In this course. as part of the same study viewed from the opposite perspective.Learner Characteristics and Understanding Nature of Science 923 assuming that undertaking SI is sufficient to understand its nature is a misconception (Lederman et al. NOS aspects were explicitly addressed and the PSTs were provided with mastery experiences as they prepared lesson plans in which they integrated NOS aspects into science lessons. and questionnaires. Even though SI has been seen as an inseparable component of NOS. learners’ views of NOSI and its association with NOS views have been ignored in most of the studies in the literature and the focus has always been on NOS. In a few studies investigating the participants’ views of NOS and NOSI (e. p. 2012). she found no obvious connection between a person’s self-efficacy beliefs and their understanding of NOS aspects and concluded that high levels of self-efficacy would not guarantee a better under- standing of science and NOS aspects. Therefore. Schwartz 2007). There are two components of self-efficacy that affect behavior. interviews. it has been reported that the participants held naive views of both concepts at the beginning of the research. 2014a. 2014b). the participants’ understanding of NOS and NOSI improved together during the period in which the teachers were given explicit instruction and continuous support. Since self-efficacy beliefs and its components have the power to affect a person’s behavior (Bandura 1982). Based on the data analyses. meaning that as one improves. motivation. 122). Previous research has revealed that teachers’ self-efficacy beliefs are related to student outcomes such as achievement. 2. Concerning the model NOS lessons (vicarious experiences). one PST . Hanson (2006) investigated the connection between teachers’ science teaching self-efficacy beliefs and their definitions of science with four teachers by means of data gathered through classroom observations. it was found that a better understanding of NOS provided an increase in the personal science teaching self-efficacy. It is suggested that perceived self-efficacy determines how much effort people will make when they face an obstacle. all participants expressed their confidence in teaching NOS and stated that the lesson plan activity (mastery experiences) had been very useful in helping them integrate NOS into their teaching. it can be considered that the understanding of NOS and NOSI may interact in a parallel manner. teachers’ self-efficacy beliefs about science teaching have been intensely studied from many different perspectives in the science education literature. In a recent study in Turkey. own self-efficacy beliefs. the source of self-efficacy that depends on the observations of others while performing challenging activi- ties. and their enthusiasm for teaching (Tschannen-Moran and Woolfolk Hoy 2001). Science teachers are considered to be one of the most important factors in increasing the quality of teaching and learning processes and outcomes (Çakıroğlu et al. The participants were interviewed before and after they attended a science methods course. Bilican and Çakıroğlu (2012) investigated the self-efficacy beliefs of three PSTs in relation to teaching NOS. and received feedback from their peers and the instructor.. presented these lesson plans. 2003. teachers’ classroom behaviors.g.

there may be a possible association between PSTs’ science teaching self- efficacy and their NOS understanding. The results of the study showed after the intervention that (a) the participants’ Metacognitive Awareness Inventory (MAI) scores did not change in the control group. theory-driven. and creative NOS improved in both groups. 2.. It is considered to be composed of two essential components: KoC and regulation of cognition (RoC). Çetinkaya-Aydin. and interviews were conducted with the participants. Martinez 2006). The results showed a significant increase in content knowledge and NOS knowledge for the experimental group that was exposed to metacognitive prompts. inferential. p. The researchers concluded that the development of a more informed understanding of NOS is related to higher levels of metacognitive awareness. in the literature. J.g. Çakiroğlu commented that they had not been effective in developing her confidence in teaching science. Lai (2011) concluded that (1) metacognition is related to other constructs such as critical thinking (e.g. . motivation (e. (2) metacognitive abilities improve with age (e. Furthermore. Schneider and Lockl 2002). In her extensive review of the metacognition literature. In conclusion. however. Ray and Smith 2010). there is an agreement on the importance of metacognition in improving students’ thinking and learning (Ben-David and Orion 2013). metacognition survey. Peters and Kitsantas (2010) examined the effectiveness of an intervention program.. Kramarski and Mevarech 2003). Similarly. it can be inferred that learners with a high metacognitive awareness may develop a better understanding of NOS. KoC refers to a person’s knowledge about cognition in general and their own cognition and RoC refers to the metacognitive activities of individuals they use to regulate cognition and control their own learning and thinking (Schraw and Moshman 1995). usually in service of some concrete goal or objective^ (Flavell 1976. and (c) participants in the intervention group achieved significantly higher gains than those in the control group in all NOS aspects except the creative NOS.g.924 G. the limited number of studies related to this relationship can be considered as an important gap in the literature related to NOS..3 Metacognitive Awareness Metacognition was first used and defined as Bthe active monitoring and consequent regulation and orchestration of these processes [information processing activities that go on during a cognitive transaction with an environment] in relation to the cognitive objects or data on which they bear.g. which aims to teach NOS using metacognitive prompts within an inquiry unit. Schneider 2008).g. Regarding the relationship between metacognition and NOS. although limited. whereas the partic- ipants in the intervention group showed a significant increase. and metamemory (e. and a self-regulatory efficacy survey. tentative. However. and (3) metacognition can be taught (e.. (b) the participants’ views of the empirical.. A comparison and an experimental group were formed randomly from 83 8th-grade students. NOS knowledge test. they helped her understand NOS aspects clearly. To sum up. namely the Embedded Metacognitive Prompts based on Nature of Science. Abd-El-Khalick and Akerson (2009) investigated the influence of an explicit-reflective NOS instruction combined with metacognitive strategies training on preservice elementary teachers’ understanding of NOS. Data were collected through a content test. the studies related to the association between NOS and metacognitive awareness have revealed that the development of metacognition is effective in increasing students’ understanding of content knowledge and NOS understanding. 232). Therefore.

On the other hand. They concluded that students should be able to differentiate religious ways of knowing from scientific ways in order to replace their naive views with more informed ones. there was a constructivist view of five NOS aspects and the participants were asked to evaluate between two contradicting beliefs. In a similar study. religious beliefs/ worldviews can be considered as an important learner characteristic that is related to their NOS understanding. at one end. The researcher suggested that traditional views about science were in conflict with many religious beliefs since they suggest that scientific knowledge is absolute and science is the only correct way to reach information. the nature of physics. metacognitive awareness levels. The results revealed that the participants mostly possessed constructivist views about scientific knowledge. they were unable to improve their NOS views. it is also claimed . In another study conducted with PSTs in Turkey. Moreover. In their study investigating the factors affecting the development of more informed NOS views. their strong religious beliefs caused them to have difficulties in learning science and gaining a meaningful understanding of NOS. When students’ religious beliefs contradicted with NOS aspects.Learner Characteristics and Understanding Nature of Science 925 2. beliefs. and faith/worldview schemas have been thought to have an association with NOS understanding. they can also influence their considerations about the presented information. The researcher concluded that most of the participants held constructivist views of science because they were closer to their religious beliefs. it was concluded that the PSTs’ values influenced what they considered to be important and desirable to learn. Regarding the influence of religious belief on learners’ understanding of NOS. constructivist views and Islamic views were closer to each other since they both suggest that the scientific method is not the only way to gain knowledge and scientific knowledge is not absolute. Roth and Alexander (1997) conducted a detailed case study with two high school students. science teaching self- efficacy beliefs. behavior. and views on learning science. Fowler and Dell 2006). there was a traditional view and at the other end. it is only the way in which people can understand the world. and probably learning. thus influenced their NOS understanding (Muğaloğlu and Bayram 2010). therefore. The researcher developed a questionnaire composed of 22 bipolar items.4 Faith/Worldviews Faith development theory defines faith as how God or a higher being is conceptualized by people and tries to explain how this conception influences their meanings. Since they have the power to shape the character of a person. the researchers argued that when the students’ scientific knowledge and religious beliefs were in contradiction. 1981. Based on the previous literature related to the associations between NOS understanding and learner characteristics. The data sources were three formal interviews and nine reflective essays on the nature of scientific and personal knowledge. Previous studies have consistently shown that individuals’ religious beliefs/worldviews directly but negatively influence their understanding of NOS. Being one of the strongest personal values that does not easily change. Haidar (1999) investigated 31 PSTs’ and 224 in-service chemistry teachers’ views of NOS and also attributed the views they held to their religious beliefs. Based on the analysis of their qualitative data. it can be concluded that understanding NOSI. The literature suggests that under- standing NOS and NOSI are interrelated and enhance each other. there are still very few studies related to this connection and there is a need for further investigation. However. values. Abd-El-Khalick and Akerson (2004) also found that religious beliefs influence learners’ understanding of NOS. religious values/beliefs/worldviews/faith are very important in shaping character. and relationships with others (Fowler 1974.

Yin 2003).1 Context and Sample The sample of the current study was 60 3rd-year PSTs enrolled in the elementary science education department at a public university in Turkey. and faith/worldview schemas. However. self- efficacy beliefs regarding science teaching. chemistry (general. and evolution) courses. There were 52 female and 8 male PSTs with an age range between 21 and 26 years old. especially when the boundaries between phenomenon and context are not clearly evident^ (p. molecular. 2006). optics. this was a cross-sectional. In addition. Yin (2003) defined a case study as Ban empirical inquiry that investigates a contemporary phenomenon within its real-life context. Çakiroğlu that higher science teaching self-efficacy beliefs. however. some studies have revealed that PSTs may abandon their informed views of NOS as time passes and revert to their original views (Akerson et al. In elementary science education department. the number of studies related to the associations between learner characteristics and NOS under- standing is still very limited. immedi- ately after they had taken the Nature of Science and History of Science course. Since the main variable to be measured was NOS understanding. 13). . higher metacognitive awareness levels and more flexible beliefs are associated with higher levels of NOS understanding. a naturalistic inquiry approach was followed in which the researcher does not implement any intervention or treatment and does not influence the program or participants (Patton 1987). the sample needed to be composed of PSTs who had received the same NOS instruction. Therefore. J. Moreover. However. 23 of the PSTs had teaching experience. case studies can be limited to quantitative data sources and should not be confused with qualitative research (Luck et al. modern. the decision was made to investigate the views of the 3rd-year students. Çetinkaya-Aydin. besides general education courses and elementary science teaching courses. 2006. based on the research question and study design. Teaching in general is generally perceived as a feminine occupation and preferred by female students in Turkey (Sakallı-Uğurlu 2010). case studies are associated with qualitative research and multiple sources of data. 3. metacognitive awareness levels. Purposive sampling was employed. Therefore. A total of 12 participants had prior NOS instruction experience with additional workshops and seminars. They also varied in their level of NOS understanding. descriptive. Moreover. This uneven gender representation is normal in Turkish teacher education programs. in which the researchers use personal judgment to determine the sample (Fraenkel and Wallen 2012). 3 Method The present research was designed as a single case study aiming to reveal the associations between the PSTs’ understanding of NOS and NOSI. non-experimental study since data were collected at a single point in time from all participants and the primary research objective was to describe an existing situation and document its characteristics. PSTs take physics (general. and astronomy). inorganic. organic. there was not any significant pattern within NOS understandings of those who received prior NOS instruction. In general. there is a need for studies to investigate other variables related to learners that might affect their understanding of NOS and the quality of their NOS instruction.926 G. physiology. according to the classification of non-experimental research proposed by Johnson (2001). Moreover. and analytical) and biology (general.

(6) the role of creativity. In addition. Before the administration of the instruments. The course lasted for 13 weeks and aimed to help PSTs comprehend the historical development of science. Explicit-reflective NOS instruction focuses learners’ attention on the features of NOS through instructional processes such as discussion. Some example activities implemented in the course were Tricky Tracks. 3. characteristics of scientific knowledge.Learner Characteristics and Understanding Nature of Science 927 For the reason given above. (5) observation and inferences. in which NOS instruction was given by an instructor with an informed understanding of NOS and the ability to implement explicit-reflective NOS instruction. a specific university was chosen. Lederman 2007). There are also two different approaches of explicit-reflective instruction: integrated and non- integrated. and an investigation of newspaper articles. however. examples from the history of science. 2009) included a detailed explanation of all NOS aspects. non-integrated NOS activities. and the relationships between science-technology-society-environment. explicit messages. Studies of the instrument have confirmed a high confidence level in the validity of the VNOS for assessing the NOS understanding of a wide variety of respondents and also in differentiating the NOS views of experts and novices (Lederman et al.2. 2002). and example lesson plans for teaching NOS. (2002) to probe views of specific NOS aspects which are: (1) empirical-basis. A context where PSTs receive explicit-reflective NOS instruction was selected because the results of most of the studies have suggested that one of the best ways to teach NOS is an explicit-reflective approach combined with classroom discussion. The Great Fossil Find (Randak and Kimmel 1999). NOS is addressed through specific NOS activities without any relation to the science content. non-integrated NOS activities were implemented. contrary to the implicit approach. 3. (2) subjectivity.1 The Views of Nature of Science Questionnaire Version C (VNOS-C) This ten-item open-ended questionnaire was developed by Lederman et al. NOS is planned and explicitly addressed in relation to science content. and laboratory exercises (Matthews 1998. NOS and its aspects. 2004). and examples from the history of science. Black- Box. activities. and The Tube (Lederman and Abd-El-Khalick 1998). and (7) social and cultural embeddedness.2 Data Collection and Instrumentation All instruments were administered together on the last day of the course during their class hours of the Nature of Science and History of Science course. thesis. This instructor was a science education researcher conducting studies related to NOS and had also examined students’ understanding of NOS for her Ph. The Turkish form of the VNOS-C used in this study was translated . The main textbook for the course (Doğan et al. Participating in the study was completely voluntarily and the participants were given 90 min (two class hours) to complete all the instruments. characteristics of scientists. questioning. guided reflection. all the PSTs enrolled in the course prepared learning materials related to NOS aspects using the extinction of dinosaurs as a theme and wrote reflection reports after they had examined textbooks related to NOS. (4) scientific theories and laws. All the data were collected through five different questionnaires which were implemented after obtaining permission from the authors. the participants were informed about the purpose of the study by the first author. All NOS aspects were addressed explicitly during the course through discussions. and examples from the history and philosophy of science (Schwartz et al. Within this course. In the non-integrated approach. (3) tentativeness.D. Khishfe and Lederman (2006) described the integrated approach in which NOS is presented within the science content.

It is composed of two subscales: personal science teaching efficacy beliefs (PSTE) (13 items). which measures participants’ beliefs about their teaching effectiveness on students’ learning (example item: The teacher is generally responsible for the achievement of students in science) on a scale ranging from Bstrongly disagree^ to Bstrongly agree. Then.^ Riggs and Enochs (1990) reported high reliability scores for PSTE and STOE (. 3. 2008).4 The Metacognitive Awareness Inventory (MAI) This is a 52-item 5-point Likert-type scale ranging from Balways^ to Bnever.2. (4) multiple purposes of scientific investigations. (2) justification of scientific knowledge.928 G. Furthermore. Çetinkaya-Aydin. J.75 for KoC and . this 23-item 5-point Likert-type scale was adapted into Turkish by Tekkaya et al. follow-up interviews were also conducted with 12 of them in order to establish the face validity. After administering the VNOS-C questionnaire to participants. 3. follow-up interviews were conducted and slight alterations were made based on students’ comments. . (5) sources and roles of and distinctions between data and evidence.94.75. The MAI was translated and adapted into Turkish by Sungur and Senler (2009) and the reliabilities of the subscales of the Turkish version of the scale were found to be . and (7) community of practice. 3.88 for both of the components) (Schraw and Dennison 1994). respectively. respectively). and weaknesses as a learner.76. (3) multiple methods of scientific investigations. and follow-up interviews were conducted with 12 of the participants using their responses to the VOSI questionnaire in order to establish face validity. This form was translated into Turkish by the researcher. In the present study. and science teaching outcome expectancy (STOE) (10 items). the reliability of the subscales KoC and RoC were found to be . which assesses participants’ beliefs about their science teaching ability (example item: I will continually find better ways to teach science). and when and why to use those strategies (example item: I am a good judge of how well I understand something) and (2) the ROC scale consisting of 35 items related to how well a person manages their own learning (example item: I try to translate new information into my own words). examined by language experts. respectively). In the present study. High reliability scores were reported by researchers for KoC and RoC (α = . The common questions were eliminated and an eight-item open-ended questionnaire was obtained to assess the PSTs’ views of NOSI.89 for RoC. the reliability of subscales PSTE and STOE was found to be . Çakiroğlu and adapted into Turkish by Erdoğan (2004) in a previous study.2. VOSI-E and VOSI-270 forms of the questionnaire were combined after consulting with the developers of the questionnaire (Schwartz et al.2 The Views of Scientific Inquiry Questionnaire (VOSI) In this study. The following seven NOSI aspects were targeted in this question- naire: (1) questions guide investigations. (2004). the Turkish version of the VOSI was administered to the participants. knowledge about learning strategies. and piloted with 50 PSTs from a different university.76.3 The Science Teaching Efficacy Belief Instrument (STEBI-B) Developed by Riggs and Enochs (1990). (6) scientific models. strengths. The reliability analysis of the Turkish version showed that PSTE and STOE had high reliabilities (.84 and .^ It is composed of two components: (1) the KoC scale consisting of 17 items related to a person’s awareness of their abilities.91 and .79 and .89 and . respectively.2.

Moreover. The reliabilities of the literal belief. It is a standard procedure suggested by the developers of the instruments (Lederman et al. Interview responses were not handled separately since the only purpose of the interviews was to establish the validity of participants’ responses to the questionnaire and the researchers’ interpretations of participants’ responses. and . and (3) Pluralism.3 Data Analysis The participants’ responses to the VNOS-C and VOSI questionnaires and interviews were analyzed by the researchers using the same procedure. using the rubrics for VNOS and NOSI. Then. Akerson et al. transformation of beliefs.88 for transformation of beliefs. respectively (Ok 2009). if a participant held inadequate views about five NOS/NOSI aspects and .Learner Characteristics and Understanding Nature of Science 929 3. they compared their analyses and through discussion they arrived at a final agreed assessment for each of the participants.2. . which is concerned about change in individuals’ belief over time (example item: The faith/worldview values I learned from my family changed over time). Inadequate views were scored as 1. and informed (indicating a fully developed view) understanding of each of the NOS and NOSI aspects (Lederman et al. two experts in the field were consulted about this method and their approval was taken.5 The Scale of Faith or Worldview Schemas (SFWS) This is a 9-item. their general NOS and NOSI views were determined by following a similar method described by Saderholm (2007). Schwartz et al. and pluralism subscales were found to be . and . Since both questionnaires assessed participants’ views on seven NOS/NOSI aspects. The participants with a total score of 10 or less were labeled as having an inadequate view. together. which concerns individuals’ ideas about other religions and their tendency to think that other beliefs may also be true and real at some points (Example item: No faith/worldview system is superior to others). a total score was obtained for each questionnaire. 2002. and those with a total score of 18 or more were classified as having an informed view of NOS/ NOSI. adequate (indicating a developing view).78 for pluralism. There was over a 90% consistency between the assessment of the researchers at the beginning the analysis. they compared their assess- ments. Based on the rubrics.78. In the present study. After assessing each participant on all the NOS and NOSI aspects. and informed views as 3 for all aspects separately. 2010). It is composed of three subscales: (1) Literal belief. 5 points Likert-type scale ranging from Bstrongly disagree^ to Bstrongly agree^ developed by Ok (2009) aimed to assess faith development of individuals. the minimum score was 7 and the maximum score was 21 for each of the question- naires. For example. adequate views as 2. 2008) to conduct follow-up interviews with nearly 20% of the participants to establish validity. the participants were classified as having an inadequate (indicating they held a misconception). (2) Transformation of beliefs. In this method.57.85. then. Morrison et al. 3. which mainly involves traditional beliefs and strictly upholding them by ignoring other world views (example item: The rules of my faith/ worldview cannot be changed). Then. 2002. and Posnanski (2010) to generate the NOS and NOSI profiles of the participants. . Firstly. the researchers analyzed the data independently using two rubrics based on the previous literature (see Table 1 for VNOS rubric and Table 2 for VOSI rubric). (2009). those with a total score between 11 and 17 were considered to have an adequate view. reliabilities were found to be . Same 12 participants were interviewed for VNOS and VOSI for nearly 90 min.93 for literal belief. participants were given a score for each NOS and NOSI aspect.

adequate about sub- jectivity. Subjectivity Science is completely Recognition of Scientific knowledge is subjective. Detailed explanations and embeddedness society/culture. Çetinkaya-Aydin. may change. background. Tables 3 and 4 present example participant scoring on the aspects and profiles of NOS and NOSI. Creativity No use of creativity.^ No observation and observation. For the adequate NOS group. works with Based on Scientists have questions to be experimenting. adequate views about two aspects. inadequate about theory and law). proven and do change due to reinterpretation of the existing not change. Observation and Only guess when there is Recognition of the role of Detailed explanation about inference no Bproof. Detailed investigations. explanations and examples are provided. Investigation of nature. Tentativeness Scientific knowledge is Scientific knowledge may New information and absolute. laws Laws do not change.. but no affected from scientists’ detailed explanation. The way to observations. Just Not dogmatic. understand nature. scientific knowledge. For the adequate NOSI group. objective. and there were 2 PSTs with informed views about all aspects of NOSI. technologic information may change developments. There were 5 PSTs who held informed views about all NOS aspects and scored 21. and No hierarchical relationship. No example. Science may affect Science and society influence each cultural independent from the society. beliefs. informed about empirical-basis. Both theories and laws Detailed explanation and examples. Only one PST held inadequate views about all aspects of NOS and NOSI and scored 7 on both questionnaires. there were 7 PSTs who had three different levels of understanding across the aspects (e. way of thinking. Creativity may be used Important for all parts of only in some parts of investigations. The PSTs placed in the inadequate groups of NOS and NOSI held two different levels of understanding across the aspects: inadequate views on some aspects (scored as 1) and adequate views on the other aspects (scored as 2) with a total score of 10 or less. subjectivity. prediction and how they serve as observation and evidence for development of inference. 4 PSTs held three . different from each other. J. Current information provides a basis to future work. Çakiroğlu Table 1 Rubric for analyzing VNOS data NOS aspect Inadequate Adequate Informed Empirical-basis Study of the world. how and why natural phenomena occur. the PSTs placed in the informed groups of NOS and NOSI held two different levels of understanding across the aspects: adequate views on some aspects (scored as 2) and informed views on other aspects (scored as 3) with a total score of 18 or more.g. In a similar way. experimenting and answered. he obtained a total score of 9 (5 × 1 + 2 × 2 = 9) and his general NOS/NOSI profile was determined as to be inadequate. inference and implication of inference. but society other. The other PSTs in the inadequate (held misconceptions about most of the aspects) and informed (held fully developed views of most of the aspects) groups of NOS and NOSI had two different levels of understanding about different aspects. does not (or vice examples are provided. versa). Social and Science is universal. theories may change. Based on evidence. Theories and Hierarchical relationship.930 G. scientific knowledge.

Community Communications between Scientists’ interaction while Clear explanation about the of scientists do not have doing science may affect relationships in the scientific practice any effect on scientific their work. communities. about different sources of questions and importance of questions. perspectives. this grouping was used for all comparisons of their scores on other variables. Communication processes. etc. Only an Embody conceptual Representations of the results of models example is provided. information and other studies. different levels of understanding across the aspects. Scientists’ method to work on a methods method with certain Scientists may create their problem may differ according to steps. and informed views of NOS and NOSI according to their total scores. collected and evidence is data and evidence. descriptive statistics were obtained. Scientists ask questions. own way to work on their the scientific discipline. different Supporting data is having consistent data. scientist and the question to be answered. normal distribution. Data and No meaningful definition Data is all of the information Detailed explanation of the terms evidence of data and evidence. society. Useful for further studies. choice of question to investigate investigations. . background. use of previous proof. eyes. The other PSTs in the adequate groups of NOS and NOSI varied in either inadequate and adequate or adequate and informed range.Learner Characteristics and Understanding Nature of Science 931 Table 2 Rubric for analyzing VOSI data NOSI aspect Inadequate Adequate Informed Guide of Focus is on experimenting. affect scientists’ work and how science progress. In order to determine the groups that presented with statistically significant differences.017. all participants were assigned to groups of inadequate. information which is not scientific investigations created observable through naked with the help of observations.05 / 3 = . The data collected by the quantitative instruments (STEBI-B. Multiple No meaningful Curiosity and questions on Detailed explanation and examples purposes explanation about scientists’ minds determine about factors affecting scientists’ purpose of scientific scientific investigations. Negative items were reverse-scored to obtain the total score. MAI. Based on this scoring procedure. the problem. Then. Repeating the experiments. Mann-Whitney U tests were undertaken as a follow-up analysis with a Bonferroni-adjusted alpha level of . and homogeneity of variance assumptions of the parametric tests. SFWS) were analyzed based on the information provided by the developers of the instruments used. Scientific No definition. evidences and creativity. the chi-square test of independence and Kruskal-Wallis tests were performed to investigate whether there was a difference in the characteristics of the PSTs according to the level of their NOS understand- ing. Multiple There is a single scientific No single scientific method. Various types of data. collect Detailed explanation and examples questions ignoring questions. such as their curiosity. For the inferential statistics. They were scored by totaling the responses to each item by taking into consideration the negative items. Justification Scientists are never sure. After scoring each instrument and the subscales. Data have the ones supporting the various forms and evidence is the scientist’s claim form of data after it has been analyzed and interpreted. adequate. Non-parametric statistics were preferred because of the small sample size and the difficulties in meeting the level of measurement. and analyze data.

Çakiroğlu . 2 = adequate view. J. 3 = informed view G. 932 Table 3 Example scoring of PSTs’ general NOS profiles Participant Empirical-basis Subjectivity Tentativeness Theory and law Observation Creativity Social and cultural Total score General NOS number and inference embeddedness profilea 13 2 1 1 1 1 1 1 8 1 28 2 2 1 1 2 1 1 10 1 9 3 2 2 1 2 2 1 13 2 44 3 2 2 2 3 2 2 16 2 21 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 18 3 52 3 3 3 2 3 3 3 20 3 a 1 = inadequate view. Çetinkaya-Aydin.

2 = adequate view.Table 4 Example scoring of PSTs’ general NOSI profiles Participant Guide of questions Justification Multiple methods Multiple purposes Data and evidence Scientific models Community Total score General NOSI number of practice profilea 18 1 2 2 1 1 1 1 9 1 36 1 1 2 2 2 1 1 10 1 22 2 1 2 2 2 1 2 12 2 Learner Characteristics and Understanding Nature of Science 47 2 2 3 2 3 2 3 17 2 8 2 3 3 3 3 2 3 19 3 57 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 21 3 a 1 = inadequate view. 3 = informed view 933 .

even though most of them realized that society might have an effect on science. and creativity aspects of NOS. validity and reliability studies were conducted before the final development and adaptation. the results of the study could be generalized to other groups with similar characteristics.934 G. It was concluded that 33. this threat was minimized. Instrument decay means that the instrument and/or scoring was changed in some way is one of the related threats. their general NOS profiles were determined. tentativeness. reducing the data collector bias threat was handled by standardizing all the procedures. the representativeness of the sample may be doubtful. J. Çetinkaya-Aydin. Descriptive statistics revealed that the majority of the PSTs held adequate and informed understandings of the empirical-basis. 2006).2 Views of Scientific Inquiry Questionnaire Based on the PSTs’ assessment on the different aspects of NOSI. and social and cultural embeddedness aspects of NOS. however. The frequency distribution of the inadequate. It was found that approximately 38. subjectivity. 1. 4. by using instruments for which validity and reliability studies had already been conducted and having two researchers analyze the qualitative instruments. The participants’ responses to one instrument might be affected by their responses to another instrument and this was a limitation of the present study.4 Reliability and Validity For all the instruments used in this study. Another limitation was the generalizability of the findings. For reliability. 4 Results 4. and reliable to measure the intended variables. Lastly. To minimize the threat of data collector characteristics. the same person was involved throughout the data collection procedure. Çakiroğlu 3. useful.3% (N = 23) of the PSTs held an inadequate understanding of NOSI and expressed inadequate ideas concerning most of the . Similarly. and 21.7% (N = 13) were considered to have an informed understanding of NOS. they could not clarify how and why. the majority of them held inadequate understanding of these aspects.3% (N = 20) of the PSTs had an inadequate understanding of NOS. the alpha coefficient was calculated. observation and inference. As a result. 45% (N = 27) held adequate views about most of the NOS aspects. Testing was the major threat for this study since five different instruments were used at the same time. all the instruments were considered as appropriate. adequate and informed views of PSTs about each of the NOS aspects and their overall views of NOS is given in Fig. Since purposive sampling was used to investigate a specific group. Table 5 presents examples from excerpts of PSTS’ responses to VNOS. When a study has internal validity and the threats are minimized. any observed relationship between variables is unambiguous (Fraenkel and Wallen. most of the PSTs had trouble with theory and law. However. Their views were superficial and they were generally not able to define these aspects clearly. their general NOSI profiles were determined.1 Views of Nature of Science Questionnaire Based on the analysis of the PSTs’ understanding of the different aspects of NOS. On the other hand.

Sometimes scientists make experiments sometimes they make observations and sometimes they use both of them to support their claims. theory of evolution explains how life started and developed. Science Scientists ask questions and something.^ (PST #2).^ (PST #24). different conclusions. but we experiments.^ (PST change but never become phenomena whereas laws 22#) one another. background knowledge and beliefs. however. theory of because it makes us learn existing theories may also evolution. it is subjective.^ (PST #44) are statements of them. different conclusions by something wrong. ments are made to invent observations.^ (PST Different people look at the looking at the same data #19) same thing but see different because they have different things. . they may choose different theories in the beginning and this may lead them to make different interpretations.Learner Characteristics and Understanding Nature of Science 935 Table 5 Example excerpts from PSTS’ responses to VNOS NOS aspect Inadequate Adequate Informed Empirical-basis BScience and religion are BScience differs from religion BScience is different from different.^ result in changes. for should learn them anyway reinterpretation of the example. Experi. however.^ (PST #7) Tentativeness BTheories cannot change if BTheories can change because BScientific knowledge and they were proven before as technology develops theories can change with with experiments. more detailed experiments the help of new some theories may change can be made and new data observations and if they cannot be proven can be found. when they are proven different. They can change but do not turn into each other. since scientists have objective. experiments and based on scientific data. scientists questions with experiments prove their hypothesis with and observations.^ (PST #40) the new theories easier. Science progress cumulatively. it different backgrounds they Scientists may draw means one of them did may interpret it differently. because science is because scientific claims other disciplines because it human-made whereas reli. Personal ideas and beliefs cannot be considered as scientific without any empirical support. are supported by is the study of nature and gion is God-made. laws state what happens.^ (PST #53) Laws and BTheories are prior steps of BTheories and laws are BTheories are scientific theories laws. experiments.^ (PST #8) Subjectivity BIf two scientists used the BAlthough they use the same BScience is never completely same information but drew data.^ (PST #37) cannot progress without try to find answers to these experiments. For example. However. Moreover. they can both explanations to natural they become a law. (PST #34) we should learn theories because new theories are also based on the prior theories. Theories explain how things occur. Sometimes with experiments.

Similarly. changing the facts. If they use investigate and planning scientists.^ religious beliefs. it therefore. Çakiroğlu Table 5 (continued) NOS aspect Inadequate Adequate Informed law of gravitation states the force of attraction between two masses but does not explain why they attract. At every step of their creativity and their study. Sometimes things directly they use directly but by using the inference they need to use their logic tools to observe it. However.^ (PST #9) influence scientists’ contradicts with their choice of investigation. in some of the societies. solar system etc.^ (PST #30) collect data.^ (PST #54) Creativity BScientists do not use their BScientists use their creativity BCreativity can be thought as creativity. As a result. they make observations by can never be sure about the using scientific tools and results. However. social and cultural values societies they live in and example. J. For example. Or they data they collected by and senses to explain and make predictions and try to observations and define things. Çetinkaya-Aydin. they only use mean they make up the data they collected. they based on the data they cannot go and see the solar collected they make system directly but they inferences. they combine their scientific skills with their creativity.^ (PST #36) support these predictions experiments they make with experiments. this does not (PST #45) conclusions. they will be they collect. For embed.^ (PST #14) Social and BScience is universal. they use while deciding on what to the sixth sense of the experiments. it would be impossible for Archimedes to discover the buoyancy force without using his creativity. analyze and creativity and imagination.936 G. Then. and draw However. Based on these data. a (PST #27) scientist studying evolution in this society may interpret the data with these beliefs and prior judgments in mind. social norms and personal beliefs might affect a scientists’ work and conclusions. science might societies theory of explains the nature and be affected. Societies’ evolution is seen as nature is the same needs might also inconvenient as it everywhere. they use their imagination. So. B(PST #49) Observation BScientists guess the things BWhen scientists cannot see BThey cannot see atom and they cannot see. Science BScientists might be BScience reflects norms and cultural does not try to explain affected from the values of societies.^ anything without any (PST #21) support.^ (PST #31) .^ interpret data. when their work. they make inferences and form models for atom. inferences.

The frequency distribution of the inadequate. The descriptive results for SFWS and its components on a five-point scale revealed that the PSTs respected other beliefs and acknowledged that there was no single correct belief . However.3% (N = 8) of the PSTs were considered to have an informed understanding of NOSI since they had informed and adequate views on most of the aspects of NOSI. 4. most of the PSTs had inadequate views of scientific models and guide of questions aspects of NOSI. its subscales KoC and RoC. even though they had slight doubts (PSTE).3%. Descriptive statistics revealed that the majority of PSTs held adequate and informed understandings of the justification. therefore. Lastly. and SFWS An examination of the descriptive results for STEBI-B and its subscales. N = 29). multiple methods. 13. and their components on a five-point scale revealed that the PSTs had high levels of knowledge of their learner charac- teristics. their general NOSI understanding was concluded to be adequate. They also believed that teachers’ efforts would have positive effects on students’ achievement.3 STEBI-B.Learner Characteristics and Understanding Nature of Science 937 #of PSTs 70 Inadequate Adequate Informed Empirical-basis 60 9 37 14 Subjectivity 14 1011 380 1520 11 13 Number of PSTs 50 20 19 Tentativeness 138 28 19 40 25 16 Theory & Law 41 8 11 27 30 Observation & Inference 27 25 29 8 37 30 28 Creat20 ivity 1641 29 15 33 27 Social10& Cultural Embedded 33 16 1611 20 9 10 13 Overall0 NOS View 20 27 13 Inadequate Adequate Informed Fig. 2. multiple purposes. data and evidence. Most of the PSTs just stated the name of a popular scientific model. MAI. on a five-point scale revealed that the PSTs generally felt confident in their general science teaching efficacy (Table 7). adequate and informed views of PSTs about each of the NOSI aspects and their overall NOSI views is given in Fig. 1 Frequency distribution of PSTs for different levels of understanding of NOS and its aspects NOSI aspects. they generally thought a hypothesis is the beginning statement of a scientific research. PSTE and STOE. and they also had high scores for the RoC component referring to metacognitive activities they used to regulate cognition and control their own learning and thinking. To illuminate the variability of the scoring for NOSI. and community of practice aspects. they also expressed some doubts as to the influence of teachers on their students (STOE). such as DNA model or atom model and they did not realize the importance of questions during scientific investigations. however. and how and when to use them (KoC). learning strategies. Nearly half of the PSTs held adequate views on most of the NOSI aspects (48. The descriptive results for MAI. the findings for each of the aspects are now described. Table 6 presents examples from excerpts of PSTs’ responses to VOSI.

however. (PST according to their study. they may want to educational background. experiment hypothesis.^ (PST #52) of data. roles BData is the results of BData is the information BData is everything that can of. They constantly previous studies.^ (PST #54) Justification of BScientists need to have proof BScientists make the same BScientists collect data to scientific to say that their work is experiments over and over support their hypothesis. they method. Moreover. observations. they are considered during investigations.^ (PST #30) investigations begin with these questions. J.^ (PST #57) Sources. become sure about their they use previous studies results. written if they support the materials. However. Or they observations they try to may be interested in answer their questions.^ something and change experimenting. By making help society by making a (PST #33) experiments and medical discovery. When they of the problem.^ driving force. experimenting some studies are only comes before based on observations.^ #46) (PST #14) Multiple BScientists make experiments BScientists make observations BThere are a lot of different purposes of to understand the world. make work differently on the Scientists have different investigations experiments to test it and same problem. Data answer a scientific between data as evidences.^ (PST also repeat their study and #46) get consistent results before they share their work.^ (PST #10) observing. in order to answer ask questions about have hypotheses in mind their questions they collect everything that arouse their and make experiments to data by experimenting and interest and all scientific test them. scientists may subjective like science. Newton asked ‘why?’ and try to answer this question. If they are collected by scientists serve as an information to distinctions correct. Moreover. and experiments. They become justified. they realize only valid for hypothesis. For example. based on the results they while working on a the described steps are accept or reject their hypothesis. They Then. question. not all of the data is evidence in a . hypothesizing. scientists’ questions. For investigations investigate based on their their curiosity is their example. and choose questions to factors that affect scientific They decide what to investigate. Moreover. In general. Scientists Scientists’ methods vary find their own way.938 G. they become results are different kinds evidences. For example.^ (PST #40) is different from evidence. when the apple felt.^ something beginning from (PST #38) their childhood and they investigate it when they become a scientist. and evidence when the data is analyzed. their hypothesis to support their ideas.^ (PST #22) again to prove their They try to cover all angles hypothesis. Çetinkaya-Aydin.^ (PST #8) Multiple BAll scientists follow the BThere is no single scientific BScientific method is methods of scientific method. Sometimes working styles. (PST #16) their steps. knowledge acceptable. scientific form a hypothesis. economical factors may also affect them. Çakiroğlu Table 6 Example excerpts from PSTS’ responses to VOSI NOSI aspect Inadequate Adequate Informed Questions guide BScientists decide what to BScientists observe and ask BScientists are curious about investigations investigate according to questions about the nature. the world.

^ (PST and experiments. After collecting data. (PST #7) (pluralism). By this way.4 Chi-Square Test of Independence for VOSI and VNOS-C A chi-square test was performed using the groupings according to the general profiles for each of NOS and NOSI to look at how many participants were members of similar groups. not related to their method.^ these differences and (PST #34) comprise.^ differently. but it is they work differently. they use these interpretations as evidences to support their claims. it was seen that the PSTs strongly considered their beliefs to be strict and not interpretable. 4. one on their method. however. if follow the same method nature of science. Then. their religious beliefs did not change. They cannot see them directly but try to predict their inner structure.^ (PST about a concept that cannot Based on their observation #12) be seen directly. Their scores for the transformation of the beliefs subscale revealed that the PSTs’ beliefs did not or would not change over time. they make them easier to understand. therefore. Scientists’ interaction during the investigation can affect the progress and results. However. indicating that they generally had flexible beliefs and respected other belief systems.Learner Characteristics and Understanding Nature of Science 939 Table 6 (continued) NOSI aspect Inadequate Adequate Informed study. The PSTs’ overall faith development score was also high. When their scores for the literal subscale were reversed. simplify and visualize solidified representations picture version of the scientific information of scientific information.^ (PST #49) Scientific BScientific model is like DNA BScientific models are used to BScientific models are models model and cell model.^ (PST #17) Community of BIf different scientists work BAlthough scientists work on BScientists working on the practice on the same problem in the the same problem. scientists analyze and interpret them according to their question. of them can draw a wrong Sometimes they may it is related to subjective conclusion. written information. Table 8 . we cannot see DNA but we can visualize its structure easily because of the DNA model created. and using #31) their imagination. they will come may come up with up with the same to the same conclusion. draw together they may discuss (PST #25) different conclusions. if they work will find the same thing. For example. they work together. they same problem may come same way. scientists define and explain scientific structures and systems. If different conclusions based conclusion or not. they but interpret the data However.

48 SFWS Literal 3.80. when the frequency distributions and the results of the chi-square analysis are evaluated together.6.12 Transformation 2. The results of the test revealed a statistically significant difference in the PSTE scores between the three different groups of the PSTs with inadequate.940 G. J. X2 (4. which was accepted as an indication of a large effect size for variables with three categories (Pallant 2007). These frequencies show that there was a possible association between the NOS and NOSI views of the PSTs. Çetinkaya-Aydin. Çakiroğlu #of PSTs 70 Inadequate Adequate Informed Guide60of Questions 23 27 10 Justification 10 8 8 1512 3 7 7 8 8 15 14 Number of PSTs 50 Multiple Methods 21 31 8 40 Purposes Multiple 19 29 2512 27 31 29 37 29 25 Data 30 & Evidence 20 25 15 33 Scientific 20 Models 28 25 7 Community of Practice 23 13 33 2814 23 10 21 19 20 15 13 Overall NOSI View 23 29 8 0 Inadequate Adequate Informed Fig.39 1.07 Pluralism 4.93 . as 52 of the participants seemed to have the same level of understanding for both variables. it can be concluded that the PSTs tended to have the same levels of NOS and NOSI understanding.000).48 RoC 3.47 MAI KoC 3. n = 60) = 70. Cramer’s V was found to be .58 .59 . p = .43 .04 . 2 Frequency distribution of PSTs for different levels of understanding of NOSI and its aspects presents the frequencies of the PSTs with inadequate. and informed views of NOS and NOSI. In order to Table 7 Descriptive statistics for quantitative instruments Instrument Subscales M SD STEBI-B PSTE 4. adequate and informed views of NOS.91 .5 Kruskal-Wallis Test for STEBI-B and VNOS-C Using the groupings according to the general profiles for NOS. adequate. Kruskal-Wallis tests were performed to investigate whether PSTs with different levels of NOS understanding differ in terms of their self-efficacy beliefs regarding science teaching or not.39 STOE 3. Therefore. The results of the chi-square analysis indicated that the frequency distribution of the PSTs’ NOSI understanding was not homogenous among the PSTs with different levels of NOS understanding and the PSTs’ levels of NOS understanding were clustered around the levels of their NOSI understanding. 4.56 1.

91 . a statistically significant difference was found between the groups. However.48 Adequate and informed 27 127.5 − 2.5 − 2.004* .009* .51 Adequate and informed 27 72.017 level .168 *The mean difference is significant at the .41 .70) also statistically significantly differed from those of the inade- quate group.6 Kruskal-Wallis Test for MAI and VNOS-C Using the general profiles for NOS. 4.Learner Characteristics and Understanding Nature of Science 941 Table 8 Views of NOS and NOSI crosstabulation Views of NOSI Inadequate Adequate Informed Total Views of NOS Inadequate 20 0 0 20 Adequate 3 24 0 27 Informed 0 5 8 13 Total 23 29 8 60 determine the groups that presented with statistically significant differences.16 . Kruskal-Wallis tests were performed to investigate whether PSTs with different levels of NOS understanding differ in terms of their metacognitive awareness levels or not.003* . adequate.63 .871 Inadequate and informed 33 261. The KoC scores of the informed group also differed statistically significant from those of the Table 9 Mann-Whitney U test results for PSTE and STOE Groups N (total) Mann-Whitney U Z p Effect size (r) PSTE Inadequate and adequate 47 262.0 − 2. and informed views of NOS. These tests revealed a statistically significant difference in the PSTE scores of the informed group (Md = 4.10) and the inadequate group (Md = 3. Mann-Whitney U tests revealed a statistically significant difference in the STOE scores of the informed group (Md = 4. The PSTE scores of the informed group also statistically significantly differed from the adequate group (Md = 3.38) and the inadequate group (Md = 3.003* .88). Mann-Whitney U tests were performed. The effect size calculated using the formula of r = z / square root of N was found to be . When the STOE scores of the informed.0 − 1. adequate and inadequate groups were compared using a Kruskal-Wallis test. Table 9 presents a summary of the results of Mann-Whitney U tests for PSTE and STOE.35).94 .0 − 2.5 − .51 indicating a large effect size according to Cohen’s criteria (1988).99 . The informed and adequate groups did not differ significantly in terms of their STOE scores. the inadequate and adequate groups did not differ significantly.43 Inadequate and informed 33 269.92). The STOE scores of the adequate group (Md = 3.47 STOE Inadequate and adequate 47 134.76). The test revealed a statistically significant difference in the KoC scores between the three different groups of PSTs with inadequate.41) and the inadequate group (Md = 3. The results of the Mann-Whitney U tests revealed a statistically significant difference in the KoC scores of the informed group (Md = 4.

89) and the inadequate group (Md = 3.7 Kruskal-Wallis Test for SFWS and VNOS-C A Kruskal-Wallis test was performed to see whether PSTs with different levels of NOS understanding differ in terms of their faith/worldview schemas or not using the general NOS profile groupings. When the RoC scores of the informed.940 Inadequate and informed 33 43.55 *The mean difference is significant at the . adequate and informed views of NOS. Çakiroğlu adequate group (Md = 3.942 G.5 − 3. Çetinkaya-Aydin. the results implied that most of the PSTs (1) had high personal science teaching efficacy beliefs and moderate levels of science teaching outcome expectancies.22).017 level .54 .5 − 3. 4.001* . the SFWS scores of the adequate and inadequate group were not significantly different. one third of the PSTs still had an inadequate understanding. For other characteristics. the informed and adequate groups (Md = 3.71) was statistically significant. level of metacognitive awareness. however. Table 11 presents a summary of the results of the Mann-Whitney U test for SFWS.56 RoC Inadequate and adequate 47 242. Similar results were also found for the participants’ NOSI understanding. (2) possessed high levels of metacognitive awareness. Mann-Whitney U tests revealed a statistically significant difference in the RoC scores of the informed group (Md = 4.0 − . J. and (3) were committed to flexible faith and had respect to other belief systems. the difference in the RoC scores of the informed group and the adequate group (Md = 3.5 − . self-efficacy beliefs regarding science teaching. Mann-Whitney U tests revealed a statistically significant difference in the faith/worldview scores of the informed group (Md = 3.547 Inadequate and informed 33 44.002* .000* .0 − 3.08 . a statistically significant difference was found between the groups.5 − 3. Table 10 presents a summary of the results of the Mann-Whitney U tests for KoC and RoC. adequate.60 . Similarly. The inadequate and adequate groups did not differ significantly in terms of their KoC scores. and faith/worldviews schemas.20 .54) and the inadequate group (Md = 3.76).78). However. The results showed that there was a statistically significant difference in the faith/worldview schemas scores between the three PST groups with inadequate.56 Adequate and informed 27 53. and inadequate groups were compared using a Kruskal-Wallis test. 5 Discussion and Conclusions The purpose of this study was to investigate the possible associations between the PSTs’ understanding of NOS and NOSI.50 . The ROC scores of the inadequate and adequate groups did not differ significantly.000* . Table 10 Mann-Whitney U test results for KoC and RoC Groups N (total) Mann-Whitney U Z p Effect size (r) KoC Inadequate and adequate 47 266.16 . In addition. The descriptive results of the study revealed that most of the participants held an adequate or informed understanding of NOS after attending the Nature of Science and History of Science course.55 Adequate and informed 27 54.44) did not significantly differ.

tentativeness. however. s/he tended to have an adequate understanding of NOSI.796 Inadequate and informed 33 60. the high percentages of PSTs with adequate and informed views of the NOS aspects in the present study may be attributed to the positive influence of the course. they generally see a hierarchical relationship between hypotheses. whereas NOSI aspects were not. Understanding NOSI.0 − . the processes of generating scientific knowledge.7% of the participants had the same level of understanding of NOS and NOSI. PSTs misunderstandings were similar to the ones previously reported in the literature. In general. and social and cultural embeddedness aspects of NOS. theories. however. The results of this study revealed that 86. In a similar way.5 − 2. Previous research has shown that after receiving an explicit- reflective instruction of NOS. In general. observation and inference.0 − 2. PSTs generally think that science is isolated from the society and the only connection between science and society is related to funding research (Abd-El-Khalick 2005).45 Adequate and informed 27 94. it can be inferred that students’ engagement in NOS-based activities and explicitly emphasizing NOS aspects may have helped them develop contemporary views of NOS. even though all NOS aspects were emphasized during the course with an explicit-reflective NOS instruction. and laws.010* . Similarly.. however. inferences. 2011). However. It was also found that none of the participants held a more developed view of NOSI than NOS. The majority of the PSTs held adequate and informed understandings of empirical-basis. they do not realize that an observation needs to be interpreted. all of them need to be addressed in order to raise teachers with contemporary views of NOS. they think that theories are the prior step of laws. Jones (2010) suggested that students’ misconceptions related to scientific theories and laws might arise from misuse of the term hypothesis.259 . This might be because NOS aspects were clearly addressed during the course. and for this reason. Moreover. NOS aspects are concerned with the product of inquiry whereas NOSI aspects are concerned with the processes of the inquiry (Schwartz et al.019 *The mean difference is significant at the .Learner Characteristics and Understanding Nature of Science 943 Table 11 Mann-Whitney U test results for SFWS Groups N (total) Mann-Whitney U Z p Effect size (r) Inadequate and adequate 47 258. the opposite was found to be true.017 level Although this study did not aim to investigate the effectiveness of this course. Therefore. There may not be a direct relationship as one improves the other.g. subjectivity. Bell et al. and they think that scientific knowledge is discovered through direct observations (Abd-El-Khalick and Akerson 2004). There were no PSTs who held an inadequate/adequate view of NOS but an adequate/informed view of NOSI. PSTs were able to improve their views of various NOS aspects (e.59 . most of the PSTs had inadequate understanding of theory and law. which means that when a participant had an adequate understanding of NOS. their lack of knowledge about observations. and creativity aspects of NOS. understanding NOS and NOSI may be related to each other in a way that if you do not know the process you do not understand the product (or vice versa). may help learners more easily comprehend the characteristics of scientific knowledge. and their importance during the development of scientific knowledge might be attributed to their tendency to ignore the importance of inferences. There might be different reasons behind them. Therefore. 2008). learners’ understanding of SI is included in their understanding of NOS. understanding NOS may also develop their understanding of NOSI. but they can both facilitate an understanding of the .34 .

PSTs who understand the NOS aspects better had higher scores on PSTE items about teaching science effectively. In fact. That is. If learners are provided with a clear and explicit instruction of NOSI instead of just undertaking inquiry activities. To sum up. processes and products. 2004. Çetinkaya-Aydin. When PSTs’ responses to STOE items were investigated. Similarly. there was an association between the PSTs’ science teaching self-efficacy and understanding of NOS. As Rowe (1978) stated.. the myth of a single scientific method would have been discussed (e. In the present study. it is not possible to teach them separately. and helping students who had difficulties in understanding the science concepts. For example. the findings of the present study suggest that there was an association between the PSTs’ NOS understanding and their science teaching outcome expectancies. Therefore. the processes of scientific inquiry naturally comes up. Personal science teaching efficacy was found to be directly related to science content knowl- edge in previous studies (Tekkaya et al. in order to better understand this relationship and the effect of each variable. PSTs could have realized the importance of questions. the . For example. when discussing the characteristics of scientific knowledge. with an effective instruction. The results of this study also showed that the PSTs with an inadequate.. Bleicher and Lindgren 2005). data and evidence (e. they may learn NOS better. Similarly.944 G. the PSTs who had more informed views of NOS thought that they would have an effect on their students’ achievement in science.g. Çakiroğlu other. the product of scientific inquiry. after learning about creativity and observation and inference aspects of NOS. In previous studies. they may have felt more confident about teaching subjects like atomic structure and solar system. when the subjectivity aspect of NOS was discussed. the PSTs with informed views of NOS had higher personal science teaching self-efficacy beliefs than PSTs with adequate and inadequate views. (2004) and Bleicher and Lindgren (2005) did not report any relationship between science teaching outcome expectancy and science content knowledge. All of the NOS aspects they had learnt are inherent to all scientific knowledge they are going to teach in their future classrooms. That is. However. the PSTs with a higher science content knowledge tended to have higher personal science teaching efficacy beliefs. further research should be conducted. During the course. Therefore. Hanson (2006) reported that science teaching self-efficacy did not influence the development of a NOS understanding but a better understanding of NOS resulted in higher self-efficacy beliefs. finding better ways to teach science continuously. Tekkaya et al. with the empirical-basis aspect of NOS. Hanson (2006) suggested that NOS understanding and science teaching outcome expectancy were not related to each other. it can be concluded that as engagement in SI and an understanding of NOS are related. in the present study. while explaining the empirical- basis aspect PST #8 stated Bscientists ask questions and try to find answers to these questions with experiments and observations^). BJohn Dewey never said that we learn by doing. however. students’ difficulties could be overcome. adequate. it was seen that most of them believed that. However. scientists have different working styles^). the understanding of NOSI and NOS may also be related to each other. 216). the course PSTs attended was focused on teaching NOS. In another study. following science experiments made by students effectively. or informed understanding of NOS significantly differed in their PSTE and STOE scores. He said that we learn by doing and by thinking about what we’re doing^ (p. PST #14 stated Bscientific method is subjective like science. J. Similarly. students’ achievement in science is directly related to teachers’ effectiveness and the improvement in students’ grades is a result of teachers having found a more effective teaching approach.g. while explaining multiple methods of scientific investigations aspect of NOSI. an explicit instruction in both NOS and NOSI may be an effective way to facilitate learners’ understanding of science and its characteristics.

Their higher levels of knowledge of their learner characteristics. Another notable result of the present study is that regarding the KoC and RoC components of metacognitive awareness. Based on the findings of the previous studies and the present study. For example. which. in turn. Concerning the KoC component.Learner Characteristics and Understanding Nature of Science 945 PSTs have not only learnt about NOS and its aspects but also had a chance to observe. their prior scientific knowledge begins to make more sense (Schwartz and Lederman 2002). They become more confident with their understanding of science. NOS. Accordingly. based on the discrepancy between the literature and the results of the present study. and sequence their learning and thinking processes in a way that enhances their performance (Schraw and Dennison 1994. The PSTs’ scores for faith/worldview schemas scale got higher as their level of NOS understanding increased. has a positive effect on the classroom behaviors of teachers. As PSTs learn about NOS and its aspects. most of the PSTs stated that they focus on the meaning and significance of new information. attend and design NOS activities. it has been shown that the effects of metacognitive strategies are not content-specific. The results of the present study support the literature suggesting that metacognition helps learners monitor. To sum up. therefore. the results of the current research are not surprising. the relationship between science teaching outcome expectan- cies and NOS understanding can be considered to be inconclusive and further research is necessary to obtain more detailed information about this relationship. This might have helped them develop their science teaching outcome expectancy beliefs. Regardless of whether NOS understanding facilitates self- efficacy or vice versa. and metacognitive activities helped them while they were learning NOS and its aspects. and science concepts. but impact learning in various content areas (Abd-El-Khalick and Akerson 2009). The authors concluded that more informed views of NOS were related to higher levels of metacognitive awareness. For this reason. Similarly. the focus should be on improving both. they think about what they really need to learn before beginning a task. they can motivate themselves to learn and that they use their intellectual strengths to compensate for their weaknesses. developing PSTs’ metacognitive abilities may help them improve their learning of NOS as well as other science subjects. it can be inferred that a higher level of self-efficacy belief is associated with a more informed view of NOS. for RoC component. which in return affects their efficacy beliefs. Taking into consideration the studies in the literature indicating a relationship between science content knowledge and efficacy beliefs. This means that the PSTs with higher . Sungur and Senler 2009). it can be stated that higher levels of metacognitive awareness are associated with more informed views of NOS. the PSTs with informed views of NOS had significantly higher scores than those with adequate and inadequate views. Moreover. the majority of the participants stated that they understand their intellectual strengths and weaknesses. in the literature. learning strategies. as NOS can also be considered as a science topic. increasing both variables in PSTs had positive outcomes in science teaching. plan. Previous studies have also supported the relationship between metacognition and NOS understanding. Peters and Kitsantas (2010) reported similar results. Thomas (2012) asserted that metacognition was a key to develop scientific literacy and understand NOSI. and that they ask themselves if they learned as much as they could have once they finish a task. The results of this study also showed that the PSTs with different levels of NOS under- standing had different faith schemas. Abd-El- Khalick and Akerson (2009) investigated the influence of metacognitive strategies training on PSTs’ understanding of NOS and found that the PSTs who received the training achieved significantly higher gains in terms of their NOS understanding. they are good at organizing information. they re-evaluate their assumptions when they get confused.

it was also found that the PSTs whose worldviews were more flexible (e. they also tended to ignore it. Abd-El-Khalick and Akerson (2004) reported that when the PSTs were able to differentiate the scientific and religious ways of knowing. however. Similarly. since both concepts are crucial in the development of scientific literacy. this finding may be useful when making instructional decisions regarding science education. They are dogmatic and not open to interpretation. there may be other factors interfering with the learning processes of NOS. therefore. the findings revealed that the PSTs understanding of NOS and NOSI were highly related. As indicated by the PSTs’ low scores for the transformation of beliefs subscale in the present study. 6 Limitations and Further Research The findings of the current study have certain limitations. The findings of the present study cannot be generalized to larger populations. Several studies have aimed to improve learners’ understanding of NOS using various techniques. they were able to develop informed views of NOS even though they held strong religious beliefs. However. and faith/worldviews were found to be associated with their NOS understanding. J. Therefore.946 G. PSTs generally reject scientific ideas. Thus. in the present study. Consistent with the previous studies. when they considered science to be contradictory to their beliefs. many interesting relationships were found between the PSTs’ under- standing of NOS and their other learner characteristics. whose beliefs were not completely dogmatic and who acknowledged the different belief systems of other people) tended to have more informed views of NOS. Çetinkaya-Aydin. Roth and Alexander (1997) found that students’ strong religious beliefs prevented them from gaining an informed understanding of NOS.g. a person’s religious beliefs are generally stable and resist change. Çakiroğlu levels of NOS understanding tended to have more flexible faith/worldviews. it was consistently found that when learners’ religious beliefs contradicted scientific knowledge. they ignored the possibility of any other belief to be true. Similarly. The important thing is to help learners realize the distinction between religion and science without considering them as opposing each other. For example. For this reason. the results and conclusions are limited to a single case from Turkey. it is important to be aware of these variables before making an instructional decision. metacognitive awareness levels. Abd-El-Khalick and Akerson (2004). In previous studies. in science education. Similar results were reported in the studies by Haidar (1999). As their beliefs become more flexible and they become more open to new ideas and other beliefs. they tended to choose religion over science and resisted learning that scientific information. it can be concluded that even though the effectiveness of an instructional technique has been established before. and Muğaloğlu and Bayram (2010). when scientific knowledge contradicts these strict beliefs. their understanding of NOS also develops. Similar studies in different contexts are needed in order to . First. NOS should be presented in such a way that learners do not feel threatened in terms of their religious beliefs. In the present study. This is in agreement with the results of similar published studies. Firstly. For this reason. This may also be one of the reasons behind the different results of the studies that employed similar methods and had similar samples.. they have all focused on the intervention ignoring other variables that may have an influence on the effectiveness of the instructional technique. the PSTs’ self-efficacy beliefs regarding science teaching. When they showed a strong commitment to their own worldviews. this does not mean that learners need to choose between science and their religious beliefs.

understanding of NOSI and self-efficacy. since all of the instruments were administered at the same time. Moreover. or benefit from these relationships to improve learners’ NOS understandings. In addition.Learner Characteristics and Understanding Nature of Science 947 be able to generalize the findings and implications of the present study. Moreover. overcome. an extensive amount of further research is required. The participants might have given different amounts of consideration to different questions and items.. since the number of studies on this issue is still limited. and suggestions throughout the process. Future studies might investigate all of these possible associations along with their association with NOS understanding. Compliance with Ethical Standards Conflict of Interest The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest. Acknowledgements We are grateful to Assoc. how and why these variables are related is beyond the scope of this study. the relationships between learner characteristics of PSTs and their classroom NOS practices may be another topic of future research to explore the effect of the former on the latter. there might be other factors interfering with the learning process. since the present study did not follow an experimental design. the order of completion is a major methodological limitation. Dr. PSTs’ NOS under- standings and all the other variables can be measured before and after a NOS intervention to determine whether a specific variable influences NOS understanding or vice versa. . These associations can be useful for science teachers. the scope of this study is limited to the associations between NOS understand- ing and learner characteristics. Prof. Nihal Doğan for their valuable support. A future study can be based on an experimental design involving a pre-test post-test control group to investigate not only the effectiveness of the NOS instruction but also the learner characteristics. science teacher educators. and policy makers in planning an effective NOS instruction and improving PSTs understanding of NOS. NOS could be presented in a way that PSTs do not feel threatened in terms of their religious beliefs. helpful comments. They were intentionally not investigated in the present study to keep the focus on NOS understanding and the possible variables that are associated with it. The present study only describes the existing relationships between NOS understanding and learner characteristics. The findings of the present study provide the groundwork for future studies by describing many interesting associations between the learner characteristics of PSTs and their NOS understanding. The possible associations among learner characteristics (e. PSTs’ science teaching self-efficacy beliefs and metacognitive awareness levels can be improved to enhance their understanding of NOS. In conclusion. Secondly. All of the findings of this study relied on the participants’ self-report responses to instruments and it was assumed that all of the participants responded to the questionnaires honestly and seriously. For example. metacognitive awareness and faith/worldview schemas. it was not possible to establish any cause- effect relationships. this would also be helpful to identify and eliminate negative factors affecting the quality of NOS instruction. and so on) were not investigated in this study.g. Moreover. the results implied that even though the instructional strategies were well developed. There is also a need for future studies regarding how to control. However. In addition. This will help determine the relationships between learner characteristics and NOS under- standings as well as the directions of these relationships. For example. The scope of this research does not allow causal inferences suggesting improving a learner characteristic will directly improve NOS understanding.

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