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Theses and dissertations in biology teaching: a historical-epistemological analysis

Keywords: research characteristics , theses and dissertations on Biology Teaching , historical-epistemological analysis , Fleck

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This paper aimed at analyzing the academic production on Biology Teaching developed in Brazilian programs of post-graduation from 1972 to 2000. From 130 documents, 77 researches had been particularly considered, to serve as the basis for a historical-epistemological study. It was considered theses and dissertations on Education, Mathematics Education and Science Education, which provided subsidies to the analytical reference used in this paper, guided by Fleck’s epistemological conception, more specifically by the categories of thought style, thought collective, intra-collective and inter-collective circulation of thought. The content of such theses and dissertations – the problems investigated, theoretical reference and methodological procedures adopted – made possible to present and argue that, during the period investigated, different perspectives, mainly epistemological and educational, guided the academic production on Biology Teaching. Transformations that occurred in several conceptions that based the research during those three decades were identified and characterized. It was observed that the area changed from a research centered in problems related exclusively to teaching activities and faced from a empiricist-positivist perspective, into a research whose problems considered both teachers and students activities. However, those activities were analyzed by a non-empiricist epistemological conception, from which a concept of subject comes – scientists, teachers, students and researchers on Biology Teaching –, whose most remarkable characteristic is to be active and, mainly, non-neutral. It is argued that, based on Fleck’s conception, the group of researchers on Biology Teaching may be understood as thought collectives that share epistemological, educational and methodological concepts, which have been transformed as long as the area of Biology Teaching has been built. It was possible to conclude that the consolidation of this field of research leaded to the emergency of two styles of thought. Possibly, some changes in the framework are occurring due to the new posed challenges, which still had not emerged among the problems investigated by the theses and dissertations analyzed in this paper.

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