Mapping the nature of science in the Italian physics curriculum: From missing links to opportunities for reform

Martina Caramaschi, Alison Cullinane, Olivia Levrini, Sibel Erduran*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The article describes the analysis of the Italian physics curriculum documents in terms of the coverage of nature of science (NOS). NOS is not explicitly presented as part of the Italian high-school physics curriculum. The article focuses on analysing the implicit aspects of the curriculum documents. The Family Resemblance Approach (FRA) to NOS was used as an analytical lens. FRA was chosen because of the broad range of categories that it provides to trace curriculum content. Curriculum documents were analysed using the FRA categories as well as an Epistemic Network Analysis (ENA) which has shown important limitations in the FRA categories ‘Political Power Structures, Scientific Ethos, Professional Activities’. These aspects of NOS belong to the social-institutional aspects of the FRA framework. There were also some inconsistencies between the general section and the specific sections of the curriculum. The study elaborates on how FRA and ENA can be used to analyse NOS content in a science curriculum. The epistemic networks provide concrete illustrations of where curriculum revision can best be carried out to promote underrepresented aspects of NOS. Implications for future research and recommendations for curriculum reform internationally are suggested.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)115-135
Number of pages21
JournalInternational Journal of Science Education
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2021


  • nature of science
  • curriculum
  • Italian science education


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