Science Education Researcher as Consultant-Researcher

A Critical Reflection of the Nature of Science Education Research in Japan

In: Critical Issues and Bold Visions for Science Education
Author: Masakata Ogawa

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Japanese science education researchers faced a crisis of losing their funding basis when the Ministry of Education announced a drastically new funding scheme plan in 2016, where the research field, science education, was omitted. As a science education researcher with over 30 years of professional experience, I could not help but to reflect on our research field in order to show or explain the raison d’etre of science education research to the public as well as the funding agency. The reflection was guided by a newly introduced model, in which ‘science education research’ and ‘science education practice’ are separate, and their mutual relationship is expressed as a function of ‘consultant-researcher,’ a new role model of science education researcher. The model provided insight into such normative questions, what is our research field and to whom our research should contribute.