This study examines students’ conceptualization of scientific method from three perspectives: (a) participation in an international science fair, (b) gender differences, and (c) participation from different geographic regions worldwide. An online Word Association Test (WAT) with 10 stimulus words that are associated with scientific method was administered to high school students from more than 35 countries. Findings indicated that the semantic network of students who participated in the I-SWEEEP Olympiad had stronger connections among the 10 key concepts compared to that of non-I-SWEEEP students. Findings also revealed that male participants overall had a more complex semantic network of scientific method than their female counterparts. In addition, students from Americas, mostly U.S., had a more complex conception of scientific method than their counterparts from Eastern Europe and Asia. Results have implications about understanding affordances of science fairs in conceptualization of scientific method and about addressing gender and geographic differences.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.