A critical review of the research: Teacher understanding of the nature of science and classroom practice: Factors that facilitate or impede the relationship

Tulisan berikut ini merupakan percobaan pertama dalam menulis critical analysis terhadap serangkaian riset yang dilakukan oleh Lederman (1997). Tulisan ini merupakan salah satu tugas yang diberikan oleh Dolly, dosen pengasuh mata kuliah Research Science Education and Communication (RSEC). RSEC sendiri merupakan salah satu mata kuliah yang saya ikuti di block 4 yang lalu. Sebenarnya terdapat banyak sekali kekurangan dari versi ideal yang disyaratkan, akan tetapi saya tetap mempertahankan versi  ini guna melihat sejauh mana perubahan yang telah saya lakukan selama mengikuti mata kuliah ini. Mohon masukannya.


The development and students’ and teacher’ understanding and conception has been a concern of science education for over 40 years ago (Lederman, 1998). Many studies and reviews on the studies have been conducted in order to answer this problem and to validate the finding (for more information see in Lederman, 1998 & Fouad Abd-El-Khalick, 2000). This article is one of the efforts to do so. The author considers that giving this critical review on the research conducted by Lederman (1997) as the author critical perspective thinking in judging the reliability and validity of this research. Therefore this article mainly intend to give a critical review on the research conducted by Lederman (1997) as well addressed in report written in article namely “Teacher understanding of the nature of science and classroom practice: Factors that facilitate or impede the relationship”.

The article describe about the research conducted by Lederman (1997) that aimed to investigate whether the teacher understanding of the nature of science and classroom practice are integrated, and to identify what factor that facilitate or impede its relationship. The study conducted during one full academy year, involved five biology teachers in different high schools in Oregon State and some of their own students. The result of the study claim that teacher’s conception of science does not give an important influence in how the teachers elaborate the material or nature of science in the classroom practice.

In order to show the author critical perspective on this article, to be specified; the methodological aspect of the research, the author will elaborate the analysis on study conducted by Lederman (1997) starting with the analysis of the coherences of the purpose of the study and the questions of the research. The analysis followed by methodological analysis on component of the methods used and the questions used in each method as an approach to answer the research questions. To sharper the analysis, the author will see the elaboration of the researcher on selecting the samples, doing the data collection, in data analysis and implementation, and the last but not the least the conclusion that researcher made.

Analysis of the research’s methodological aspects

As mentioned in the introduction, the analysis of the methodological aspects used in study conducted by Lederman (1997) is started by the analysis of the coherences of the purpose of the study and the research’s questions. Aforementioned, the purposes of the study or as the Lederman claimed as multiple case study, was to investigate the relationship of teacher’s understanding of the nature of science and classroom practice, and to indentify the factors that facilitate or impede the relationship. As a matter of fact, in the author point of view, these purposes are coherence with research questions formulated i.e. (1) Do teacher’s understanding of the nature of science influence classroom practice? (2) What factors facilitate or impede the influence of teachers’ understanding on classroom practice? Moreover, the questions used in the instrument also have been validated, even though there is no information about the reliability. Therefore, the author believes that the coherences of those aspects will help the researcher to gain a reliable and valid result, since the researcher focused on the aspects that he was going to find.

In order to answer the research question, the researcher did investigation in a-depth-year-long assessment of the classroom practice and goals of all the main objective research. The data research process started with doing interview of each teacher in gaining the background information of school, students, and several important aspects that can affect the result. It is a good starting point as well as the triangulation steps in order to validate the information get. Labeled as multiple case study, the researcher also use the other method in order to get fuller picture, sharpen and validate the finding about how and whether the teacher understanding to science, and what factor influence it. The methods include open-ended questionnaire, classroom observation, informal interview in the end of classroom observation activity, collecting of additional data such as lesson plans and copies of instructional material, teacher semi-structured interview in the end of research, and interview with 10 students of each teacher.

In order to validate the data collected, the researcher claimed that teacher semi-structured interview in the end of research is needed. However, as what Morse, Swanson, and Kuzel (2001) argue in [5], it will affect to the reliability of the result, since the author concerns on the responsiveness to particular concern of the respondent or participant.

What the author appreciate to the researcher effort in gaining the data, and to the methods used is related to the analysis of data, in which each data is processed and analyzed differently and being analyzed together to triangulate the finding. The interaction between what is known and what is needed to know are fully processed.

In this research, the researcher involved five biology teachers in different high schools in Oregon State and some of their own students. Based on the criteria addressed by Whittemore, Chase, and Mandle in [7], the participants remains as both the best represent and have knowledge of the research topic, since the participants are adequate in categories, verification, completeness, and comprehension of the research purposes and questions. The number of students as the respondent is sufficient. However, the total number of five teachers remains not representative in speaking whole biology teachers in all high schools in Oregon State. Thus the author argue that the number of data is not sufficient to account all of aspect of phenomenon be obtained, that lead to unreliable conclusion, and generalization of the problem.


Overall, based on the author perspective considering the strength and weaknesses of several aspect mentioned, this study remains valid in result, however, the author suggest that the researcher should more concerns on the reliability of result since the number of samples have big roles in affecting the data to be accounted.


Abd-El-Khalick, F. (2000). Improving science teachers’ conceptions of nature of science: a critical review of the literature. Taylor and Frances, 665-700.

Lederman, N. G. (1998). Teacher understanding of the nature of science and classroom practice: Factors that facilitate or impede the relationship. Journal of Reseach and Science Teaching, 916-929.

Lederman, N. G., Wade, P. D., & Bell, R. Y. (1998). Assesing the Nature of Science: What is the Nature of Our Assessements? Science and Education, 595-615.

Morse, J. M., Barrett, M., Mayan, M., Olson, K., & Spiers, J. (2002). Verification Strategies for Establishing Reliability and Validity in Qualitative Research. International Journal of Qualitative Research, 13-22.

Morse, J. M., Swanson, J. M., & Kuzel, A. J. (2001). The Nature of Qualitative Evidence. California: Sage Publication Inc.

Tedlock, B. (2000). Ethnography and EthnograpicRepresentation. In Handbook of Qualitative Reseach; Second Edition (pp. 455-486). California: Sage Publications Inc.

Whittemore, R., Chase, S. K., & Mandle, C. L. (2001). Pearls, Pith, and Provocation: Validity in Qualitative Research. Sage Publication, 522-537.

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