A New Way to Explore the Nature of Science: Meta-categories Rather Than Lists

Diego Romero-Maltrana, Sergio Duarte

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Scientific literacy not only involves scientific content relative to each branch of science, as a scientifically literate person is also aware of what science is, as well as how it operates in a broader and complex sense. Therefore, in order to develop and implement successful methodologies in the classroom aiming to improve students’ scientific literacy, it seems crucial to know what exactly science is. However, defining science turns out to be a complex problem inside the philosophy of science, and it has even been claimed that science cannot be defined. There are several strategies to face this problem in science education. Here, we show that most of the current strategies are lists of features trying to capture the nature of science, and we also show that the kind of strategies based on lists of features have insurmountable problems. We recognise the strengths and weaknesses of two main approaches, and building from those lessons we create a tool guiding the exploration of science nature which is free of the problems identified in previous approaches.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)239-257
Number of pages19
JournalResearch in Science Education
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2022


  • Demarcation problem
  • Family resemblance approach
  • Meta-categories
  • Nature of science


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