Nature of Science Views and Epistemological Views of College Biology Students

  • Lisa BorgerdingEmail author
  • Hasan Deniz


Epistemological views characterise how individuals view the certainty, source and organization of knowledge. Previous research has demonstrated some relationships between epistemological views and nature of science (NOS) views. These relationships may be particularly interesting for biology students who are learning about topics such as evolution which are societally controversial but not scientifically controversial. In this study, we examine the relationship between epistemological views and empirical NOS views for three classes of college biology learners in a Midwestern US university. We used the Learning Contexts Questionnaire to characterise participants’ epistemological Perry levels and question 1 of the VNOS-C to characterise their empirical NOS views. Based on a series of chi-square analyses, no relationship between Perry level and empirical NOS views was identified. Significant relationships between empirical NOS views and gender and empirical NOS views and biology class were identified. These findings and implications for future work are discussed.


Biology education Epistemology Gender differences Nature of science 


Les conceptions épistémologiques caractérisent les façons dont les personnes conçoivent le degré de certitude, la source et l’organisation des connaissances. Les recherches antérieures ont montré l’existence de certains liens entre les vues épistémologiques et les vues sur la nature des sciences. Ces liens peuvent être particulièrement intéressants pour les étudiants de biologie dont l’apprentissage comprend des sujets tels que l’évolution, qui sont controversés sur le plan sociétal, mais ne sont pas controversés sur le plan scientifique. Dans cette étude, nous analysons les liens entre les points de vue épistémologiques et les points de vue empiriques sur la nature des sciences dans trois classes de biologie au niveau collégial. Nous avons utilisé le Questionnaire sur les contextes d’apprentissage pour déterminer le niveau épistémologique des participants selon le modèle de Perry, et la Question 1 du VNOS-C pour définir leurs points de vue empiriques sur la nature des sciences. Sur la base d’une série d’analyses χ2 nous n’avons relevé aucun lien entre le niveau de Perry et les points de vue empiriques sur la nature des sciences. Des liens significatifs ont été relevés d’une part entre les points de vue empiriques sur la nature des sciences et le sexe des participants, et d’autre part entre ces points de vue et la classe de biologie. Ces résultats et leurs implications pour des recherches ultérieures sont analysés.


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Ontario Institute for Educat. Studies 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Kent State UniversityKentUSA
  2. 2.University of NevadaLas VegasUSA

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