Argumentation and interdisciplinarity: reflections from the Oxford Argumentation in Religion and Science Project

Disciplinary and Interdisciplinary Science Education Research

Sibel Erduran, Liam Guilfoyle, Wonyong Park, Jessica Chan & Nigel Fancourt 


Argumentation has emerged as a key area of research and development in science education in recent years. Simply defined, argumentation is about the justification of knowledge claims with evidence and reasons. Although there is now a vast amount of work in argumentation, much research remains to be pursued. Given the interdisciplinary nature of argumentation, the dialogue between science education and other relevant domains can potentially produce constructive research agendas that could profit argumentation research and lead to practical applications. Following an overview of the relevant interdisciplinary investigations that can be pursued in science education, the paper subsequently focuses on the interphase of science and religion. Although science education research has witnessed considerable debate about particular issues related to science and religion such as the teaching and learning of evolution and creationism, the role of argumentation remains an uncharted territory. Hence, the paper focuses on how argumentation may be explored in science and religious education in comparison. Some preliminary observations from the Oxford Argumentation in Religion and Science (OARS) Project are reported including a comparative analysis of curricula and teachers’ views. Implications for interdisciplinarity in the context of argumentation in science education are discussed.

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