Understanding Objectivity in Research Reported in the Journal of Research in Science Teaching (Wiley-Blackwell)

  • Mansoor NiazEmail author
Part of the Contemporary Trends and Issues in Science Education book series (CTISE, volume 46)


Based on a website search with the keyword “objectivity,” 110 articles in the 24-year period (1992–2015) referred to some form of objectivity and were classified according to the following criteria: Levels I–V (same as presented in Chap.  3). Results obtained showed the following distribution of the 110 articles evaluated: Level I = 4, Level II = 33, Level III = 68, Level IV = 5, and Level V = none. Only 5% (5 out of 110) of the articles were considered to have an understanding of objectivity that approximated to its historical evolution. None of the articles referred to the work of Daston and Galison on objectivity or mentioned “trained judgment.” Traditional standards of educational research are based on positivist philosophy. One article reported that based on Guba and Lincoln’s notion of trustworthiness traditional standards of internal and external validity, reliability, and objectivity can be replaced by notions of credibility, transferability, dependability, and triangulation of data sources (Level III). In order to facilitate objectivity and researcher independence it is generally recommended in educational research that the researchers must maintain a distance between themselves and the subjects of their investigation. This prescription is, however, problematic as one article reported that in order to establish a mutually acceptable dialogue with the teacher in the classroom it is important to audit the process rather than the product (Level III).


  1. American Association for the Advancement of Science, AAAS. (1993). Benchmarks for science literacy: project 2061. Washington: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Bencze, L., & Hodson, D. (1999). Changing practice by changing practice: Toward a more authentic science and science curriculum development. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 36, 521–539.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Beth, E. W., & Piaget, J. (1966). Mathematical epistemology and psychology. Dordrecht: Reidel.Google Scholar
  4. Boyd, R. N., Gaspar, P. & Trout, J. D. (1990). The philosophy of science. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  5. Campbell, D. T. (1988a). Can we be scientific in applied social science? In E. S. Overman (Ed.), Methodology and epistemology for social science (pp. 315–333). Chicago: University of Chicago Press. (first published in 1984).Google Scholar
  6. Campbell, D. T. (1988b). The experimenting society. In E. S. Overman (Ed.), Methodology and epistemology for social science (pp. 290–314). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  7. Charmaz, K. (2005). Grounded theory in the 21st century: applications for advancing social justice studies. In N. K. Denzin & Y. S. Lincoln (Eds.), The Sage handbook of qualitative research (3rd ed., pp. 507–535). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  8. Collins, H. M. (1982). Tacit knowledge and scientific networks. In B. Barnes & D. Edge (Ed.), Science in context. Buckingham: Open University Press.Google Scholar
  9. Cooper, L. N. (1992). Physics: structure and meaning. Hanover: University Press of New England.Google Scholar
  10. Crabtree, B. F., & Miller, W. L. (1999). Doing qualitative research. Thousand Oaks: Sage.Google Scholar
  11. Daston, L., & Galison, P. L. (1992). The image of objectivity. Representations, 40(special issue: seeing science), 81–128.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Daston, L., & Galison, P. (2007). Objectivity. New York: Zone Books.Google Scholar
  13. Denzin, N. K., & Lincoln, Y. S. (2005). Introduction: the discipline and practice of qualitative research. In N. K. Denzin & Y. S. Lincoln (Eds.), The Sage handbook of qualitative research (3rd ed., pp. 1–32). Thousand Oaks: Sage.Google Scholar
  14. Desmond, A., & Moore, J. (1991). Darwin. London: Michael Joseph.Google Scholar
  15. Dobzhansky, T. (1973). Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution. The American Biology Teacher, 35, 125–129.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Duschl, R. A., & Grandy, R. (2013). Two views about explicitly teaching nature of science. Science & Education, 22(9), 2109–2139.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Fox-Keller, E. (1992). Secrets of life, secrets of death: essays on language, gender and science. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  18. Fuller, S. (1988). Social epistemology. Bloomington, IN: Indiana State University Press.Google Scholar
  19. Freire, P. (1971). Pedagogy of the oppressed. New York: Continuum Books.Google Scholar
  20. Gee, J. (1999). An introduction to discourse analysis. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  21. Giere, R. N. (2006a). Perspectival pluralism. In S. H. Kellert, H. E. Longino & C. K. Waters (Eds.), Scientific pluralism (pp. 26–41). Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
  22. Gipps, C. (1999). Socio-cultural aspects of assessment. In A. Iran-Nejad & P. D. Pearson (Eds.), Review of research in education 24, (355–392). Washington: American Educational Research Association.Google Scholar
  23. Giroux, H. (1992). Border crossings: cultural workers and the politics of education. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  24. Gooday, G., Lynch, J. M., Wilson, K. G., & Barsky, C. K. (2008). Does science education need the history of science? Isis, 99, 322–330.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Gould, S. J. (1977). Ever since Darwin. New York: Norton.Google Scholar
  26. Gould, S. J. (1981). The mismeasure of man. New York: Norton.Google Scholar
  27. Guba, E. G., & Lincoln, Y. S. (1989). Fourth generation evaluation. Newbury Park: Sage.Google Scholar
  28. Habermas, J. (1972). Knowledge and human interests. (trans: Shapiro, J.J.). London: Heinemann.Google Scholar
  29. Hacking, I. (1983). Representing and intervening. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Haraway, D. J. (1991). Simians, cyborgs, and women: the reinvention of nature. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  31. Harding, S. (1987). The science question in feminism. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
  32. Harding, S. (1998). Is science multi-cultural? Postcolonialisms, feminisms, and epistemologies. Indianapolis: Indiana University Press.Google Scholar
  33. Harding, P. A., & Vining, L. C. (1997). The impact of the knowledge explosion on science education. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 34, 969–975.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Hodson, D. (1993). In search of a rationale for multicultural science education. Science Education, 77, 685–711.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Holton, G. (1969). Einstein and the ‘crucial’ experiment. American Journal of Physics, 37, 968–982.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Holton, G. (1978a). Subelectrons, presuppositions, and the Millikan-Ehrenhaft dispute. Historical Studies in the Physical Sciences, 9, 161–224.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Holton, G. (1978b). The scientific imagination: case studies. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  38. Holton, G. (1996). Science education and the sense of self. In P. R. Gross, N. Levitt & M. W. Lewis (Eds.), The flight from science and reason (pp. 551–560). New York: New York Academy of Sciences.Google Scholar
  39. Hubbard, R. (1988). Some thoughts about the masculinity of natural science. In M. M. Gergen (Ed.), Feminist thought and the structure of knowledge (pp. 1–15). New York: New York University Press.Google Scholar
  40. Keller, E. F. (1985). Reflections on gender and science. New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  41. Kitchener, R.F. (1986). Piaget’s theory of knowledge: Genetic epistemology and scientific reason. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  42. Klahr, D., Fay, A. L., & Dunbar, K. (1993). Heuristics for scientific experimentation: a developmental study. Cognitive Psychology, 25, 111–146.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Klassen, S. (2011). The photoelectric effect: reconstructing the story for the physics student. Science & Education, 20(7–8), 719–731.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Kuhn, T. (1962). The structure of scientific revolutions. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  45. Kuhn, T. (1970). The structure of scientific revolutions (2nd ed.). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  46. Laats, A., & Siegel, H. (2016). Teaching evolution in a creation nation. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Lacey, H. (2004). Is there a significant distinction between cognitive and social values? In P. Machamer & G. Wolters (Eds.), Science, values and objectivity (pp. 24–51). Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Ladyman, J. (2002). Understanding philosophy of science. New York: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Lincoln, Y.S., & Guba, E.G. (2000). Paradigmatic controversies, contradidtions, emerging confluences. In N.K. Denzin & Y.S. Lincoln (Eds.), Handbook of qualitative research 2nd ed. (pp. 163–188). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  50. Longino, H. E. (1990). Science as social knowledge: values and objectivity in scientific inquiry. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  51. Machamer, P., & Wolters, G. (2004). Introduction: science, values and objectivity. In P. Machamer & G. Wolters (Eds.), Science, values and objectivity (pp. 1–13). Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press.Google Scholar
  52. Mayr, E. (1982). The growth of biological thought: Diversity, evolution and inheritance. Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  53. Medawar, P. B. (1967). The art of the soluble. London: Methuen.Google Scholar
  54. Merton, R.K. (1942). Science and technology in a democratic order. Journal of Legal and Political Sociology, 1. Reprinted as ‘Science and Democratic Social Structure’, in his Social theory and social structure. New York: Free Press (1957).Google Scholar
  55. Myrdal, G. (1944/1962). An American dilemma: the negro problem and modern democracy. New York: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  56. National Research Council, NRC (1992). National science education standards: A sampler. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.Google Scholar
  57. National Research Council, NRC. (1996). National science education standards. Washington: National Academy Press.Google Scholar
  58. Niaz, M. (1991). Role of the epistemic subject in Piaget’s genetic epistemology and its importance for science education. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 28, 569–580.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Niaz, M. (1997). Can we integrate qualitative and quantitative research in science education? Science & Education, 6, 291–300.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Niaz, M. (1998). From cathode rays to alpha particles to quantum of action: a rational reconstruction of structure of the atom and its implications for chemistry textbooks. Science Education, 82, 527–552.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Niaz, M. (2009). Critical appraisal of physical science as a human enterprise: dynamics of scientific progress. Dordrecht: Springer.Google Scholar
  62. Niaz, M. (2011). Innovating science teacher education: a history and philosophy of science perspective. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  63. Niaz, M. (2012). From ‘Science in the Making’ to understanding the nature of science: an overview for science educators. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  64. Niaz, M. (2014). Science textbooks: the role of history and philosophy of science. In M. R. Matthews (Ed.), International handbook of research in history, philosophy and science teaching (pp. 1411–1441). Dordrecht: Springer.Google Scholar
  65. Niaz, M. (2015). That the Millikan oil-drop experiment was simple and straightforward. In R. L. Numbers & K. Kampourakis (Eds.), Newton’s apple and other myths about science (pp. 157–163). Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  66. Niaz, M. (2016). Chemistry education and contributions from history and philosophy of science. Dordrecht: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Niaz, M., Abd-El-Khalick, F., Benarroch, A., Cardellini, L., Laburú, C. E., Marín, N., Montes, L. A., Nola, R., Orlik, Y., Scharmann, L. C., Tsai, C.-C., & Tsaparlis, G. (2003). Constructivism: defense or a continual critical appraisal --- a response to Gil-Pérez, et al. Science & Education, 12, 787–797.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Niaz, M., Aguilera, D., Maza, A., & Liendo, G. (2002). Arguments, contradictions, resistances and conceptual change in students’ understanding of atomic structure. Science Education, 86, 505–525.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Niaz, M., & Robinson, W. R. (1993). Teaching algorithmic problem solving or conceptual understanding: role of developmental level, mental capacity, and cognitive style. Journal of Science Education and Technology, 2, 407–416.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Nurrenbern, S. C., & Pickering, M. (1987). Concept learning versus problem solving: is there a difference? Journal of Chemical Education, 64, 508–510.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Ogbu, J. (1978). Minority education and caste: the American system in cross-cultural perspective. New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  72. Pascual-Leone, J., Goodman, D., Ammon, P., & Subelman, I. (1978). Piagetian theory and neo-Piagetian analysis as psychological guides in education. In J. M. Gallagher & J. A. Easley (Eds.), Knowledge and development 2, (243–289). New York: Plenum.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Patton, M. Q. (1990). Qualitative evaluation and research methods. Newbury Park: Sage.Google Scholar
  74. Piaget, J. (1971). Biology and knowledge: an essay on the relations between organic regulations and cognitive processes. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  75. Piaget, J. (1977). Equilibration of cognitive structures. New York: Viking.Google Scholar
  76. Roth, W.-M. (1995). Authentic school science. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Rutherford, E. (1911). The scattering of alpha and beta particles by matter and the structure of the atom. Philosophical Magazine, 21, 669–688.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. Rutherford, F. J., & Ahlgren, A. (1990). Science for all Americans. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  79. Sewell, Jr., W. H. (1992). A theory of structure: duality, agency, and transformation. American Journal of Sociology, 98(1), 1–29.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  80. Sheperd, L. (1993). Lifting the veil: the feminine side of science Boston: Shambhala Publications.Google Scholar
  81. Tashakkori, A. & Teddlie, C. (2003). Handbook of mixed methods in social and behavioral research. Thousand Oaks: Sage.Google Scholar
  82. Tsaparlis, G. (2014). Linking the macro with the micro levels of chemistry: demonstrations and experiments that can contribute to active/meaningful/conceptual learning. In I. Devetek & S. A. Glažar (Eds.), Learning with understanding in the chemistry classroom (pp. 41–61). Dordrecht: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  83. Wertheim, M. (1995). Pythagoras’ trousers. New York: W.W. Norton.Google Scholar
  84. Yeany, R. H. (1991). Dissemination and implementation of research findings: impacting practice. NARST News, 33(4), 1.Google Scholar
  85. Ziman, J. (1994). The rationale of STS education is in the approach in science education. In J. Solomon & G. Aikenhead (Eds.), STS education: international perspectives on reform (pp. 21–31). New York: Teachers College Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Epistemology of Science Group, Department of ChemistryUniversidad de OrienteCumanáVenezuela

Personalised recommendations