Methodological considerations for studying science-in-the-making in educational settings

Gregory J. Kelly, Catherine Chen, Teresa Crawford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

84 Scopus citations


In this paper we explore the methodological implications of socioculturel approaches for the study of scientific knowledge and practices. Research in science studies and science education is reviewed with a focus on methodological considerations. Informed by empirically-based studies of scientific practices from multiple disciplinary perspectives, we describe our perspective for investigating science education which combines ethnography and discourse analysis. This theoretical position on the discursive nature of the social construction of school science-in-the-making forms the basis for theoretical and methodological critique and discussion. We provide a review of the history of nature of science (NOS) research to trace the methodological influence of Science and Technology Studies in science education. Four methodological issues associated with studying science as cultural practices are discussed: the local and contingent nature of situated definitions of science; theory dependence and coherence of research methodologies; attention to the study of school science-in-the-making; and reflexivity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)23-49
Number of pages27
JournalResearch in Science Education
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1998

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education


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