Vorstellungen Naturwissenschaftsstudierender von Nature of Science mit besonderem Fokus auf den Aspekt Atome 
Hannah Todt

Scientific literacy is claimed to be an important outcome of science education, particularly it is important to navigate one’s way in today’s daily life, which is thoroughly affected by scientific issues (Gräber& Nentwig, 2002; Lembens & Rehm, 2010). Therefore, the focus should not only be on the scientific subject matter. Rather it seems to be important that everyone gains informed conceptions about the characteristics of science, which are known as Nature of Science (NOS) (Abd-El-Khalick, 2006; Lederman, 2007). Scientific education in schools plays a major role in reaching this goal, as it is the last time most people are confronted with scientific matters in an educational setting (Lembens & Rehm, 2010). However, it seems to be quite a challenge for science teachers to promote an adequate understanding of NOS in order to help students develop informed conceptions while also conveying the subject content. Science teachers need support to develop their own informed conceptions and to create environments where students can learn and reflect effectively about NOS (Hofer, 2001; Bruns, 2009). The University of Vienna is about to design courses helping future chemistry teachers to tackle this challenge. Therefore it is of interest to assess the views science students hold about different aspects of NOS. An online questionnaire was designed at the University of Vienna for this purpose, which addressed the views of students studying biology, chemistry and physics. The questionnaire is based on Abd-El-Khalicks’s (2006) VNOS-C (Views of Nature of Science Questionnaire- Form C) and contains open questions. The compiled data from 245 completed questionnaires was categorized and analysed using Mayring’s qualitative content analysis (Mayring, 2010) and the data compiling software MAXQDA. The special focus of this thesis is laid on the answers concerning "atoms" and the correlating NOS-aspects: the tentative nature of scientific knowledge, how scientific knowledge is generated and the nature of scientific models. The students’ views of these aspects were also considered with regard to various variables such as their age, subject combination and study progress.

This study showed that many of the participants held naive views of the tentative nature of scientific knowledge, the nature of scientific models and especially of how scientific knowledge is generated. The consideration of various variables led to the result that there is no difference between science major students and science student teachers. When comparing the views of biology, chemistry and physic students separately, there’s a small difference in favour of the chemistry students. There was also a small increase of "informed" views considering the duration of study and the age of the students.

Diplomarbeit (.pdf)