Thinking about television science: How students understand the nature of science from different program genres

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Abstract

Student views on the nature of science are shaped by a variety of out-of-school forces and television-mediated science is a significant force. To attempt to achieve a science for all, we need to recognize and understand the diverse messages about science that students access and think about on a regular basis. In this work I examine how high school students think about science that is mediated by four different program genres on television: documentary, magazine-format programming, network news, and dramatic or fictional programming. The following categories of findings are discussed: the ethics and validity of science, final form science, science as portrayed by its practitioners, and school science and television science. Student perceptions of the nature of science depicted on the program sample used in this study ranged from seeing science as comprising tentative knowledge claims to seeing science as a fixed body of facts. © 2003 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Res Sci Teach 40: 234–256, 2003

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