Understanding Objectivity in Research Reported in Reference Works

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


This chapter is based on the evaluation of research in two reference works: (a) International Handbook of Research in History, Philosophy and Science Teaching (HPST); and (b) Encyclopedia of Science Education (ESE). Based on a website search with the key word “objectivity,” 8 articles in the HPST and 12 articles in ESE 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 20 articles evaluated in the two reference works: Level I = none, Level II = 10, Level III = 7, Level IV = 3, and Level V = none. Only 15% (3 out of 20) of the articles were considered to have an understanding of objectivity that approximated to its historical evolution. One of the articles referred to the work of Daston and Galison on objectivity and none mentioned “trained judgment.” There is some consensus that mathematical propositions are not empirically falsifiable and thus possess the absolute certainty of analytical statements or logical truths. One article has questioned this role of mathematical propositions as many advanced sciences are very much like mathematics in their conceptual apparatus, as can be illustrated with relativity and string theory. Radical constructivism was promoted by science educators who were dissatisfied with objectivism, namely scientific knowledge as an accurate depiction of physical reality.


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Authors and Affiliations

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

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