James Sanford (MAT Secondary Science Education)
Research Poster Abstract:
SCIENCE PROFESSORS’ VIEWS OF FAITH-BASED VS. EVIDENCE-BASED KNOWLEDGE AT THE UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA AT PEMBROKE
College science students may often be confronted with an array of new ideas and concepts that challenge their pre-existing belief systems. New ways of thinking, seeing the world, and new influences may make it difficult to align, what may seem to be conflicting and diametrically opposed ideologies. These new learning paradigms are strongly influenced by the students’ professors. In an effort to gain some insight into how professors have aligned evidence-based thinking with their own faith-based knowledge, this explanatory qualitative study explored the viewpoints of three tenured science professors at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke. The professors selected had unique perspectives regarding views of science and religious ideology and each provided reflective personal insights during individual interviews. Using an open-ended interview protocol, each interview was recorded and averaged 50 minutes in length. The interviews were carefully reviewed and pertinent material transcribed in a narrative format. A case study approach and a cross-case comparison were used to determine the commonalities and differences among the three science professors. The purpose of the case study analysis was to examine the framework that these science professors used to align their own religious ideologies with those of evidenced-based thinking. These data provide some insight into how science professors may organize and make sense of their own world view based on these two often opposing viewpoints. The findings suggest that professors are also, often confronted with problematic paradigms that they must come to terms with in order to validate their own beliefs. This validation was negotiated differently for each of the three professors in the study and was based on several factors such as their childhood experiences and background knowledge.
Updated: Tuesday, May 1, 2012
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