Defining the Epistemic Core of Chemistry

  • Sibel Erduran
  • Ebru Kaya
Part of the Science: Philosophy, History and Education book series (SPHE)


The chapter focuses on epistemic categories collectively labelled as the “epistemic core”. By “epistemic core” we mean the epistemic aims, values, practices, methods and knowledge. The aim of the chapter is to illustrate what the epistemic processes and products in chemistry are and to explore how they might be incorporated in education. Epistemic aims and values include such concepts as accuracy and empirical adequacy. Methods involve experimentation and observation which may involve manipulative or non-manipulative approaches. Practices concern processes such as modelling and prediction that contribute to knowledge production. Knowledge is constituted of different types: theories, models and laws. Overall, the considerations of aims, values, methods, practices and knowledge in unison provide a framework where a justified and coherent epistemic framework can be conceptualised for chemistry education. In other words, a coordinated and comprehensive epistemological approach in terms of the means (e.g. practices and methods), the reasons (i.e. aims and values) and outcomes (i.e. knowledge) of knowledge production is considered. The epistemic core is exemplified by acid-base chemistry, and suggestions are provided for how school chemistry lessons can incorporate the epistemic core.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sibel Erduran
    • 1
  • Ebru Kaya
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of EducationUniversity of OxfordOxfordUK
  2. 2.Department of Mathematics and Science EducationBoğaziçi UniversityIstanbulTurkey

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