Epistemological and educational issues in teaching practice-oriented scientific research: Roles for philosophers of science

Mieke Boon*, Mariana Orozco, Kishore Sivakumar

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
83 Downloads (Pure)


The complex societal challenges of the twenty-first Century require scientific researchers and academically educated professionals capable of conducting scientific research in complex problem contexts. Our central claim is that educational approaches inspired by a traditional empiricist epistemology insufficiently foster the required deep conceptual understanding and higher-order thinking skills necessary for epistemic tasks in scientific research. Conversely, we argue that constructivist epistemologies (developed in the philosophy of science in practice) provide better guidance to educational approaches to promote research skills. We also argue that teachers adopting a constructivist learning theory do not necessarily embrace a constructivist epistemology. On the contrary, in educational practice, novel educational approaches that adopt constructivist learning theories (e.g., project-based learning, PjBL) often maintain traditional empiricist epistemologies. Philosophers of science can help develop educational designs focused on learning to conduct scientific research, combining constructivist learning theory with constructivist epistemology. We illustrate this by an example from a bachelor’s program in Biomedical Engineering, where we introduce conceptual models and modeling as an alternative to the traditional focus on hypothesis testing in conducting scientific research. This educational approach includes the so-called B&K method for (re-)constructing scientific models to scaffold teaching and learning conceptual modeling.
Original languageEnglish
Article number16
JournalEuropean journal for philosophy of science
Early online date10 Feb 2022
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2022


  • Scientific research practices
  • Philosophy of science in practice
  • Constructivist epistemologies
  • Constructivist learning-theories
  • Conceptual modeling
  • Higher-order thinking skills
  • Scientific thinking
  • Educational sciences
  • Epistemic tools
  • UT-Hybrid-D


Dive into the research topics of 'Epistemological and educational issues in teaching practice-oriented scientific research: Roles for philosophers of science'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this