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      Developing the Inner Scientist: Book Club Participation and The Nature of Science

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          Abstract

          First-year premedical students' understanding of Nature of Science (NOS) improved over one academic year. Those who participated in a nonfiction book club as a curricular option showed better understanding of NOS than students who did not participate. Pre- and postcourse surveys and course documents suggest that book club may attract students with higher NOS status and further improve it.

          Abstract

          The leap from science student to scientist involves recognizing that science is a tentative, evolving body of knowledge that is socially constructed and culturally influenced; this is known as The Nature of Science (NOS). The aim of this study was to document NOS growth in first-year premedical students who participated in a science book club as a curricular option. The club read three acclaimed nonfiction works that connect biology to medicine via the history of scientific ideas. Students’ NOS status was assessed as informed, transitional, or naïve at the beginning and end of the academic year using the Views of Nature of Science Questionnaire–Form C (VNOS-C). Focus group interviews and document analysis of assignments and exams provided qualitative evidence. VNOS-C scores improved over the academic year regardless of book club participation. Students who participated in book club had marginally better NOS status at the end of the year but also at the beginning, suggesting that book club may have attracted rather than produced students with higher NOS status. It is notable that an improvement in NOS understanding could be detected at all, as there have been few reports of NOS growth in the literature in which NOS was not an explicit topic of instruction.

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          Most cited references 24

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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Role: Monitoring Editor
                Journal
                CBE Life Sci Educ
                CBE-LSE
                CBE-LSE
                CBE-LSE
                CBE Life Sciences Education
                American Society for Cell Biology
                1931-7913
                1931-7913
                Spring 2013
                : 12
                : 1
                : 80-91
                Affiliations
                Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar, Doha, Qatar
                CBE-12-02-0020
                10.1187/cbe.12-02-0020
                3587859
                23463231
                © 2013 P. Baudoin Griffard et al. CBE—Life Sciences Education © 2013 The American Society for Cell Biology. This article is distributed by The American Society for Cell Biology under license from the author(s). It is available to the public under an Attribution–Noncommercial–Share Alike 3.0 Unported Creative Commons License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0).

                “ASCB®,” “The American Society for Cell Biology®,” and “Molecular Biology of the Cell®” are registered trademarks of The American Society of Cell Biology.

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                March 4, 2013

                Education

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