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The Inter-relationship of Science and Religion: A typology of engagement

Hanley, Pam, Bennett, Judith and Ratcliffe, Mary (2014) The Inter-relationship of Science and Religion: A typology of engagement. International Journal of Science Education, 36 (7). pp. 1210-1229. ISSN 0950-0693

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This study explores whether the religious background of students affects their opinions about, and attitudes to engaging with, scientific explanations of the origins of the universe and of life. The study took place in four English secondary schools representing three different contexts (Christian faith-based; non-faith with majority Muslim catchment; and non-faith, mixed catchment). It comprised questionnaires and focus groups with over 200 students aged 14-16, supplemented by teacher interviews. The analysis approach was informed by grounded theory and resulted in the development of an engagement typology, which has been set in the context of the cross-cultural border crossing literature. It divides students into categories depending on both the nature and amount of involvement they were prepared to have with the relationship between science and religion. The model takes into account where students sit on four dimensions. These assess whether a student’s preferred knowledge base is belief-based or fact-based; how flexible they are in terms of both tolerance of uncertainty and open-mindedness; and whether they conceptualise religion and science as being in conflict or harmony. Many Muslim students resisted engagement because of conflicting religious beliefs. Teachers did not always appreciate the extent to which this topic troubled some students who needed help to accommodate clashes between science and their religious beliefs. It is suggested that increased appreciation of the complexity represented by their students can guide a teacher towards an appropriate approach when covering potentially sensitive topics such as the theory of evolution

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: science education; religious education; evolution
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BL Religion
L Education > L Education (General)
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB1603 Secondary Education. High schools
Schools: School of Education and Professional Development
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Pam Hanley
Date Deposited: 03 Jan 2017 15:53
Last Modified: 28 Aug 2021 12:11


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