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Scientific Practice and Science Education


"The field of science and technology studies (STS) has seen many "turns" in the past 40 years--toward discourse (Gilbert & Mulkay, 1982), toward technology (Woolgar, 1991), most recently toward ontology (Woolgar & Lezaun, 2013)--but probably no such shift has been more durable or emblematic than the turn toward scientific practice. Sustained attention to what scientists do, rather than what they say they do or what they ought to do, took off in the late 1970s, forming the basis for what Collins (Collins, 2015; Collins & Evans, 2002) calls "Wave Two" of STS. Notable practice-oriented Wave Two genres included laboratory ethnographies (Knorr-Cetina, 1981; Latour & Woolgar, 1979; Lynch, 1985; Traweek, 1988), sociological "controversy studies" (Collins, 1985; Mackenzie, 1990; Pinch, 1986), and ethnographically informed historical portraits of socially complex lab groups and research fields (Galison, 1997; Kohler, 1994; Shapin & Schaffer, 1985) Today, STS scholars take for granted that an understanding of scientific knowledge requires a thick engagement with scientific practice. A greater appreciation for scientific practices counts as a major contribution of STS."

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