Research‎ > ‎

'Science Education'

posted Apr 28, 2011, 4:22 AM by Helen Newdick   [ updated Jul 6, 2011, 3:39 PM by Berry Billingsley ]

Secondary students' responses to perceptions of the relationship between
science and religion: stances identified from an interview study

Keith S Taber, Berry Billingsley, Fran Riga & Helen Newdick


It has been argued that learning science may be complicated, and even
compromised, when students hold worldviews that may seem at odds with
what is presented in science lessons. In particular, in some parts of the
world, there has been considerable concern that students from particular
religious backgrounds may reject some science teaching if perceived
as inconsistent with their faith commitments. In this paper we report the
findings from an interview study that investigated how twelve 13-14 year
olds from four diverse English schools perceived the relationship between
science and religion. In particular, we consider how these students
responded to any perceived contradiction and conflict between science
and religion. We found a spectrum of stances among this small sample
of secondary students. The more extreme positions represented a choice
for either science or religion when conflict was perceived. However, other
stances were found that sought a synthesis, accommodated inconsistent
frameworks or considered science and religion as non-interacting domains.
These alternative stances present a similar range of possibilities to the
possible outcomes that have been discussed when students' informal ideas
in science are inconsistent with formal science teaching. The implications
for further research and for curriculum development and teaching are
A version of the paper is available via the link at the bottom of this page. This is the pre-peer reviewed version of the article,

Taber, K. S., Billingsley, B., Riga, F. and Newdick, H. (2011), Secondary students' responses to perceptions of the relationship between science and religion: Stances identified from an interview study. Science Education, 95: n/a. doi: 10.1002/sce.20459

 which has been published in final form at
Berry Billingsley,
Jul 6, 2011, 3:30 PM