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Arizona State University Bateman Physical Science Building F-wing Room 101
The Impact of Idealist and Relativist Philosophy on Science Education Research: Findings from Peter Fensham's Defining an Identity (Kluwer 2004)
MICHAEL R. MATTHEWS School of Education University of New South Wales Sydney 2052, Australia
This paper uses the interview evidence in Peter Fensham's book ' Defining an Identity (Kluwer 2004) ' to document the impact of Idealist and Relativist philosophy on contemporary science education research. The book's evidence is also used to argue that this deleterious impact is in part the result of the poor preparation that most researchers have in the foundation disciplines that underpin their work - specifically learning theory (including cognitive science), philosophy (especially the history and philosophy of science), history and political economy. Some suggestions are made for the amelioration of this chronic and fundamental problem with science education research.