A Framework for Translating Cancer Research into Science Education

By Maria Cristina Dal Pian and José Eduardo Moura.

Published by The Learner Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Research in education that focuses on argumentation has largely contextualized to the classroom one very popular framework: Toulmin’s Layout of Practical Argument (TLPA). Science education, in particular, has benefit from TLPA in evaluating students and teachers’ discourse, in helping them to structure their explanations within standards acceptable for classroom science, and in helping students to develop writing skills as part of research training. A TLPA approach is here proposed to assist non-specialists to evaluate evidence from research in the field of cancerology, for the purpose of informing decisions on the teaching about research in the secondary school. Cancer is today a matter of Public Health and citizens have a genuine interest in new discoveries from this field.

Meta-analysis, a classical epidemiological strategy for summarizing evidence from multiple studies, is taken as the object of evaluation. From a systematic assessment from the Medline, six reports on the association between diet and breast cancer were chosen and analysed. A Layout was structured for each report. The nature of the actual Layouts and their relevance for science education were considered. The prevalence of Authoritative Warrants was shown, and missing claims were notified in two reports. The nature of epidemiology seems to account for these patterns. A suggestion is made to connect meta-analysis to other kinds of studies, particularly to those seeking for knowledge of the underlying molecular mechanisms of the association between diet and cancer. This would constitute a fruitful additional step for using TLPA in science education. Support from FINEP.

Keywords: Science Education, Toulmin’s Layout of Practical Argument, Public Understanding of Research, Meta-analysis, Diet and Breast Cancer

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 13, Issue 11, pp.35-42. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 901.103KB).

Dr Maria Cristina Dal Pian

Researcher, Director of Research, Advanced Centre in Oncology - DEPECOM - LNRCC, Natal, RN, Brazil

At present, investigates methodologies for constructing channels of communication between contemporary research and science education, and strategies for enhancing the public understanding of research in cancerology. Coordinates the ONCOEDUCEM Project, with financial support from FINEP, a brazilian governmental funding agengy. Is director of research of the Advanced Centre in Oncology - DEPECOM - LNRCC/ Natal-RN/Brazil.

Dr José Eduardo Moura

Researcher, DEPECOM, Advanced Centre in Oncology - DEPECOM - LNRCC, Natal, RN, Brazil

Researcher of the ONCOEDUCEM Project.

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