From the horse's mouth: What scientists say about scientific investigation and scientific knowledge



This study sought to identify prominent features of the nature of science (NOS) embedded in authentic scientific inquiry. Thirteen well-established scientists from different parts of the world, working in experimental or theoretical research, in both traditional fields such as astrophysics and rapidly growing research fields such as molecular biology, completed an open-ended questionnaire about the NOS and participated in in-depth interviews. The descriptions of their practices provide a somewhat striking contrast to the image of science usually portrayed in science curricula and textbooks. These accounts of authentic scientific practice have considerable potential for development into interesting cases as teaching resources to enhance and enrich students' understanding of NOS and for the design of more effective laboratory work and field experience. © 2008 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Sci Ed93:109–130, 2009