Home > Strategies and Skill Development > Conceptual Strategy Families > Hypothesis Testing > Literature Note - Hypothesis Testing

It is important to note that hypothesis testing, as we have defined it, is not merely a matter of teaching the scientific method, quite separate from literacy skills. Stephen Norris and colleagues argued in a series of studies that the reading skills of high school and university students lead systematically to misunderstandings of science, primarily because they tend to interpret scientific reports as purely factual expositions (Norris & Phillips, 1994, 2002; Norris, Phillips, & Korpan, 2003). The practice of scientists in reading scientific texts depends upon a critical stance informed by the norms of scientific research in which discourse is part of an ongoing theory-construction dialog in which argumentation is central (Goldman & Bisanz, 2002; Lemke, 1990). It is thus an important question how well models of science teaching inculcate the norms of scientific practice, as opposed to the results of scientific practice (Crawford, Kelly, & Brown, 2000; Kelly & Crawford, 1997). In other words, part of the practice of science is learning modes of reading and writing that are adapted to the conceptual and rhetorical demands of science as a social practice.

Crawford, T., Kelly, G. J., & Brown, C. (2000). Ways of knowing beyond facts and laws of science: An ethnographic investigation of student engagement in scientific practice. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 37(3), 237-258.

Goldman, S. R., & Bisanz, G. (2002). Toward a functional analysis of scientific genres: Implications for understanding and learning processes. In J. Otero, J. A. Leon, & A. C. Graesser (Eds.), The psychology of science text comprehension (pp. 19-50). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Kelly, G. J., & Crawford, T. (1997). An ethnographic investigation into the discourse processes of school science. Science Education, 81(5), 533-559.

Lemke, J. L. (1990). Talking science: Language, learning, and values. Norwood, NJ: Ablex.

Norris, S. P., & Phillips, L. M. (1994). Interpreting pragmatic meaning when reading popular reports of science. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 31(9), 947-967.

Norris, S. P., & Phillips, L. M. (2002). How literacy in its fundamental sense is central to scientific literacy. Science Education, 87, 224-240.

Norris, S. P., Phillips, L. M., & Korpan, C. A. (2003). University students' interpretation of media reports of science and its relationship to background knowledge. Public Understanding of Science, 12(2), 123-145.

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