Analysis of South African graduate degrees in science education: 1930–2000

Type Journal Article - Science Education
Title Analysis of South African graduate degrees in science education: 1930–2000
Volume 89
Issue 3
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2005
Page numbers 418-432
This analysis of research conducted by graduate students at South African universities over the last 70 years is an attempt to identify the foci of South African science education research. Appropriate graduate degrees were systematically identi?ed by interrogating electronic databases and verifying details. Title and abstract were then used to assign keywords. Overall 23% and 77% of the 469 graduate degrees identi?ed are doctoral and master’s degrees, respectively. The activity of graduate work suggests that science education as a discipline was comparatively well established in South Africa by the 1980s, although 59% of all degrees were conferred between 1991 and 2000. Following the methodology of White [2001, in V. Richardson (Ed.), Handbook of research on teaching (4th ed., pp. 457 – 471)]. Washington, DC: American Educational Research Association), trends in the relative frequency of keywords indicate that South African science education is broadly in line with worldwide trends in the discipline but that some differences exist. However,
South African science education research appears to focus relatively more on attitudes, classrooms, curriculum issues, STS-related issues, and laboratories, and relatively less on assessment, re?ection, teachers’ or students’ conceptions, and informal learning. Research on identi?ed national priorities is being conducted, albeit with variable prevalence. Future opportunities in science education research lie in following a research agenda more closely matched to local contexts, and in the diversi?cation of research focused largely on the secondary – tertiary interface.

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