Understanding evidence in scientific disciplines: identifying and mapping ‘the thinking behind the doing’ and its importance in curriculum development

Ros Roberts


Understanding research, the uncertainty of the resultant data and research claims are widely held aims of HE science curricula. Expertise in scientific research involves, inter alia, an understanding of evidence. The underpinning knowledge-base of evidence can be specified – the concepts of evidence – and represented as a conceptual network of ideas an understanding of which underpins decisions made while conducting research and also forms the basis of evaluation of others’ research; the ‘thinking behind the doing’ of research expertise. Students’ responses to an undergraduate module that explicitly teaches the concepts of evidence so that students can conduct open-ended investigations and evaluate others’ research are reported. The implications of this conceptualisation of research expertise for curriculum specification, approaches to teaching and assessment and for Threshold Concept research are discussed.

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