A Systematic Review of Studies about Conceptions on the Nature of Science in Science Education

Nathália Helena Azevedo*, Daniela Lopes Scarpa

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The nature of science (NOS) has been highlighted as an important component of science education, since scientific knowledge can contribute to decision-making by contemporary citizens. There are few quantitative review studies in the field of science education. Given the importance of the topic, and the need to organize and understand the knowledge produced by research on conceptions of NOS, we carried out a systematic review based on the principles of PRISMA, in order to quantify and initiate reflection on (i) the publication trends of articles on NOS conceptions (ii) the main characteristics of these articles, (iii) the NOS aspects frequently cited as important for teaching, and (iv) the main strategies used to access NOS conceptions. We analyzed 396 articles published up to February 2015 in Teaching and Education journals listed on WebQualis 2013. Our systematic review represented an initial effort to present an overview of the area, and enabled us to identify research trends and gaps. Investigational efforts are needed to investigate NOS conceptions in the Brazilian context that are associated with the teaching of specific disciplines. We found twenty-five NOS aspects reported to be important for teaching, addressed part of the debate on consensus and the lists of NOS aspects, and presented general characteristics of the main questionnaires used to investigate NOS conceptions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)621-659
Number of pages39
JournalRevista Brasileira de Pesquisa em Educação em Ciências
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Sep-2017
Externally publishedYes

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