During recent decades there has been little research on social or cultural factors affecting science education. Recent literature reviews have indicated that of the studies addressing such factors, most focus on broad sociodemographic variables such as socioeconomic status, gender, ethnicity, and region. There is a need for research that depicts better-differentiated social contexts for science education in their full complexity. Social scientists from several other fields have recently developed a promising model for research in context. Three critical conceptual and methodological strands of the model are discussed, along with their implications for science education research.