September 2012

Science Education Review

As a science education researcher and a science teacher who teaches future teachers and often visits schools,  I often feel that there is a large gap between what we know about how students learn science and how we teach it. Part of it is due to the gap between the innovations in science education described in research papers and the science education practice we see in schools. Many of the papers are not written for the teachers to read and use, but for other researchers. This is unfortunate, as it prevents greats ideas to be implemented into practice. Luckily, there is a very useful online journal that attempts to address the gap between the science education practice and the academia: The Science Education Review. I have been helping to review submissions for the journal for a number of years now and I also published there. Just check the list of papers published there, including a long list of open source papers to see for yourself. The paper’s Editor, Dr. Peter H. Eastwell is Australian, he was able to attract a team of international science educators to become the members of the Editorial Review Board. The papers submitted to the journal come from all over the world, thus you can get a very new perspective and ideas on science education. I would recommend you to check this source out – I have learned a lot from reading the papers and I am sure you will do too.

Just recently, SER published a very interesting paper – take a look:

Essential Information for all Science Teachers

Write Investigative Reports Correctly!


Scientific investigations, and the way both students and researchers report their investigative work, can be vastly improved. In particular:  Too much attention is being given to the investigation of non-causal questions at the expense of investigating causal questions. Indeed, many students never experience the opportunity to investigate a causal question, yet this process is critical to the development of an understanding of the nature of science.

  • The terms prediction, hypothesis, and conclusion are often being used inappropriately; and textbooks are not helping!
  • A hypothesis is not needed in every student investigation.
  • Some investigative reports require a summary of results only while others require a conclusion.


To better conceptualise, and report on, scientific investigations, subscribe now to The Science Education Review ( and access the paper titled “Hypothesis, Prediction, and Conclusion: Using Nature of Science Terminology Correctly” in our latest issue. Professional development just couldn’t be any more convenient or applicable.


“There is some confusion and certainly a lack of clarity in just how the scientific method applies to student investigations. This paper, as well as the associated teacher workshop, highlight important issues for teachers and insist that they are clear on the connection between the type of question posed and the appropriate methodology that follows.” Jim Ford, Principal and Science Educator, Mercy College, Mac kay, Que p>

“I especially like how you distinguish between causal and non-causal types of investigations and emphasize that the headings have to be different for each. This is a very useful idea that I will use with my own students.” Marina Milner-Bolotin, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

 Background Reading

 The following paper, which is freely available online, provides useful background:

 Eastwell, P. H. (2010). The scientific method: Critical yet misunderstood. The Science Education Review, 9, 8-12. Available from .

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