Analyzing science education in the U.K.: Taking a system-wide approach
Increasing evidence suggests that individuals develop their understanding of science concepts in and out of school, using varied community resources and networks. Thus in contrast to historic research approaches that focus exclusively on single organizations and/or educational events, the current paper presents exploratory research in which we utilized specific community ecology analytical tools and approaches to describe and analyze the UK science education community as a whole. Data suggest that overall the UK science education community is highly interconnected and collaborative within individual sectors and moderately interconnected and collaborative between sectors; schools and to a lesser degree universities were outliers to this pattern. An important conclusion was that management to maximize the effectiveness of science education the UK science education community would involve support for continued diversification of the number of science education entities in the system and encouragement of reciprocally collaborative, synergistic relationships. We posit that systemic research enables a broader, more comprehensive view of a system’s strengths and weaknesses, offering useful insights into the structure and functioning of science education activities; insights that could help researchers, practitioners and policy makers improve the overall quality of science education delivery for all.