Epistemologies in practice: Making scientific practices meaningful for students

Leema K. Berland*, Christina V. Schwarz, Christina Krist, Lisa Kenyon, Abraham S. Lo, Brian J. Reiser

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

160 Scopus citations


Recent research and policy documents call for engaging students and teachers in scientific practices such that the goal of science education shifts from students knowing scientific and epistemic ideas, to students developing and using these understandings as tools to make sense of the world. This perspective pushes students to move beyond the rote performance of scientific actions or processes and engage instead in purposeful knowledge construction work. This raises parallel questions about how to go beyond characterizing student performance of scientific process to understand their engagement in scientific practices as a goal-directed activity. To that end, this article offers a framework-the Epistemologies in Practice (EIP) framework-for characterizing how students can engage meaningfully in scientific practices. This framework emphasizes two aspects of student engagement in scientific practices: (1) the students' epistemic goals for their knowledge construction work and (2) their epistemic understandings of how to engage in that work.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1082-1112
Number of pages31
JournalJournal of Research in Science Teaching
Issue number7
StatePublished - Sep 2016


  • Argumentation
  • Epistemology
  • Explanation
  • Modeling
  • Scientific practices

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Epistemologies in practice: Making scientific practices meaningful for students'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this