Relevance and relational responsibility in justice-oriented science education research

Sara Tolbert, Alexa Schindel, Alberto J. Rodriguez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


In this article, we critically examine what a commitment to equity, diversity, and social justice in science and science education means for our research practices and methods. Using a blend of critical cross-cultural and feminist lenses, we explore relationships of power in our research, specifically in terms of knowledge production, representation, and positionality. We also consider our ethical obligations and relational responsibilities as researchers in terms of caring and solidarity. We argue that relevance should be measured as a function of the transformative impact of the research enterprise. We also argue that to do this, researchers need to examine and expose their own positioning and positionality. We propose a variety of strategies, drawn from our work and from that of many others, which illustrate how to build and sustain more caring, ethical, responsive, and responsible relationships with research participants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)796-819
Number of pages24
JournalScience Education
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2018


  • critical theory
  • decolonizing methods
  • feminist theory
  • justice
  • research

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • History and Philosophy of Science


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