Coupling epistemology and identity in explaining student interest in science

Jennifer Leigh Richards, Luke Conlin, Ayush Gupta, Andrew Elby

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

1 Scopus citations


In this paper, we present the case of Estevan, an eighth-grader from Honduras whose interest in science lies primarily at the intersection of personal epistemology and identity. Drawing on video data from classroom interactions as well as interviews with Estevan and his teacher, Ms. K, we show how Estevan's passionate engagement in sensemaking about the seasons arose from an alignment between his epistemological stance that science involves figuring things out for yourself and his enacted identity as someone who faces challenges head-on. We use Estevan's case to highlight the importance of remaining open to the multiplicity of connections that might exist between interest in science and students' identities and to motivate looking deeper into such issues before prescribing how to engage students in science.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication2012 Physics Education Research Conference
EditorsN. Sanjay Rebello, Paula V. Engelhardt, Alice D. Churukian
PublisherAmerican Institute of Physics Inc.
Number of pages4
ISBN (Electronic)9780735411340
StatePublished - 2013
Event2012 Physics Education Research Conference, PERC 2012 - Philadelphia, United States
Duration: Aug 1 2012Aug 2 2012

Publication series

NameAIP Conference Proceedings
ISSN (Print)0094-243X
ISSN (Electronic)1551-7616


Other2012 Physics Education Research Conference, PERC 2012
Country/TerritoryUnited States


  • Engagement
  • Epistemology
  • Identity
  • Interest

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Physics and Astronomy


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