The Association for Science Education

Research - Justin Dillon


Justin Dillon King’s College London
This article describes his route into science education research, following this biographical pen-portrait.

I am a senior lecturer in science and environmental education and head of the Science and Technology Education Group at King’s College London. After teaching in London schools for 10 years, I joined the staff at King’s, to work on the National Environmental Database project, in 1989. My PhD study was entitled ‘Professional Development in the Science Department and the Role of the Head of Department’ and it was partly based on a national survey of science teachers’ needs and wants carried out in 2000 (Dillon et al., 2000).

During the 1990s I co-edited two books aimed at PGCE students, Learning to Teach Science (Monk and Dillon, 1995) and Becoming a Teacher (Dillon and Maguire, 1997). In terms of science education, my research career began in earnest with a study of pupils’ ideas about combustion (Prieto et al., 1993, Watson et al., 1995; Watson et al., 1997). A small-scale study of the teaching of controversial issues led to a series of publications (Dillon et al., 2004; Oulton, Day et al., 2004; Oulton et al., 2004). I co-edited The Re-emergence of Values in Science Education (Corrigan et al., 2007) with colleagues from Monash University in Australia. More recently I co-authored Science Education in Europe: Critical Reflections (Osborne and Dillon, 2008) for the Nuffield Foundation.

My second strand of research has focused on environmental education. Some of this work involves critical appraisal of EE research (such as Dillon, 2003; Dillon et al., 1999; Dillon and Reid, 2004; Dillon and Wals, 2006; Rickinson et al., 2004). I have also been involved in empirical work in EE including a survey of the outdoor science provision available to student teachers (Kendall et al., 2006) and an action research project focusing on the outdoor classroom in a rural context (Dillon et al., 2005). I am currently engaged in co-editing the first ever Handbook of Research in Environmental Education (Brody et al. in preparation).

As well as directing the ‘Border Crossings’ research project, which is funded by the AstraZeneca Science Teaching Trust, I am currently working on an ESRC funded five-year longitudinal study of young people’s career choices and aspirations and an EU-funded project looking at factors influencing recruitment, retention and gender equity in science, technology and mathematics higher education. I was elected President of the European Science Education Research Association (ESERA) in 2007 for a four-year term. As well as being an editor of the International Journal of Science Education, I am on the editorial board of 10 science and environmental education journals.

Some personal reflections on doing science education research
Justin Dillon - King's College London


1. Discovering the world of science education research 
2. Experimenting with teaching and research 
3. Mastering science education 
4. Joining King's 
5. Burning questions 
6. On controversy 
7. Some lessons 
8. Where now? 

1. Discovering the world of science education research

I first met a science education researcher in 1979 when I was interviewed by Jan Harding for a place on Chelsea College's PGCE course. Bridges Place, the home of the then Centre for Science and Mathematics Education (CSME), was a converted engineering factory with massive floors able to withstand the weight of heavy machinery and thick walls. It was the complete opposite of the Institute of Education (which had turned me down without an interview) and yet CSME contained the most vibrant set of science educationists that has probably ever existed in one place. As well as Jan, there was Paul Black, John Head, Joan Bliss, Guy Claxton, Bob Fairbrother, John Barker, Martin Monk, John Harris and, many, many more. Philip Adey had just left to work overseas but was set to return. Bridges Place and the people working there changed my life beyond recognition and without that experience I would not be writing this nor, I suspect, would I be working at King's.

Many of the staff had been heavily involved in curriculum development through the Nuffield Science projects. New initiatives were starting up not the least of which was the Assessment of Performance Unit (APU) which had had its first public outing at the ASE conference in 1978. Jan Harding and John Head's work on gender were beginning to have an impact on science education researchers beyond the UK. Science education research was, if not in its infancy, not far into adolescence. The first edition of the European Journal of Science Education (which became the International Journal of Science Education) was published in 1979, the year that I began my PGCE.

2. Experimenting with teaching and research

By the end of the year I had learned to love London and had begun to learn how to teach. I had secured a job at the John Roan School in Greenwich. The school was undergoing a difficult period of change. A girls' grammar school, a boys' grammar school and an old secondary modern school were merging to form a split-site comprehensive. Staff travelled from site to site by minicab and in one day you could be teaching a selective all-girls class, a selective all-boys class and a mixed comprehensive class. The head of science at the boys' school was Brian Matthews who went on to work at Goldsmiths College and at the girls' school it was Wendy Riddle who had had long associations with Chelsea College. The science department was diverse and contained a mixture of radical and conservative staff some of whom admired Brian and some of whom found his views extreme.

Brian had a vision of science education that was radical and encouraged debate and dialogue in the science department. For example, he advocated tape-recording ourselves teaching to see if we inadvertently used sexist language. During my four years at the John Roan School I did a small amount of simple research. I carried out a survey of pupil attitudes towards science - something that I must have picked up from my Chelsea days. I also attended my first international conference, the International Conference on Chemical Education in Maryland, USA in 1981. I gave a table-top presentation of our work trialling the Independent Learning Project for Advanced Chemistry (ILPAC) which had been set up by the Inner London Education Authority (ILEA).

ILEA ran a series of day and evening courses at their science centres which provided opportunities to keep up-to-date with a range of research and developments. It created a network of people committed to innovative science education and a Science Support Team which I joined in 1984. My role in the team was to teach examination classes in schools with shortages of chemistry teachers. During the time that I was in the team I taught in five different London schools and accepted a post in one of them, Eltham Hill. After a year in post as Head of Chemistry I started a part-time MA at King's. At the time, my employer, the Inner London Education Authority (ILEA) not only paid all the fees but it provided for two weeks study leave for two years. Times are, sadly, different now.

3. Mastering science education

In the intervening years since I had done my PGCE, Chelsea College had merged with King's and Queen Elizabeth College so I was reunited with the people that had provided such an inspiring start to my career. Enrolling for the MA was one of the best decisions of my life. As well as modules on research methods, I was able to develop a much greater awareness of the sociology of science and of technology education. My dissertation, which I completed in 1987, was on technology, culture and gender and writing it helped me to appreciate the links between science and technology. I convinced colleagues at Eltham Hill, an all-girls school, that we should introduce technology into the curriculum. I don't know whether we were the first all-girls school to introduce technology but it would probably never have happened if I had not done the MA.

Shortly after finishing the MA I was encouraged by one of the ILEA science inspectors to apply for the post of Head of Science at Kingsdale School in south London. During my career, I had mentored several student teachers from Chelsea and King's and had done the odd session on their PGCE courses. My interest in remotely-accessed databases (such as Dialog) and earth science and, specifically, in mineral process chemistry (a Nuffield A-level Special Study) also got me invited to travel to the Peak District with a group of King's PGCE students led by Rod Watson who had taken Jan Harding's post when she retired. Rod and I got to know each other through the South London Chemistry Teachers' Centre of which I was Secretary for many years and which was hosted at King's. At the beginning of the 1988/9 school year, Rod rang me at Kingsdale to say that he had been successful in getting some money from the Nuclear Electricity Information Group to scope the possibility of an environmental database project and asking whether I'd like to work with him on the project. This was an offer that could not be refused.

4. Joining King's

Rod only had money to pay for someone for a term in the first instance. My Headteacher agreed that I could be seconded for the spring term and then, if the project did not carry on, I could return to Kingsdale. However, at half-term, another chemistry colleague announced that she had got a new post and that she was leaving at the end of December. The head asked me what I'd say if she reneged on her decision to let me go on secondment. I told her that I would resign and that's what happened. So, having given up a permanent job as Head of Science, I found myself at the age of 31 on a one-term contract. No more pips, no more inspectors, no more discipline problems but not much security.

Rod and I were operating a job-share, in effect, with both of us working 50% on NED and 50% on the science education PhD. Although I had done some research in schools, it hadn't been very substantial and it had only been published in the ILEA Science News. We managed to get several low level papers out of NED but it was more curriculum development than research. However, Rod had other irons in the fire and one of them was a successful bid to forge a link with a colleague at the University of Malaga, Teresa Prieto.

5. Burning questions

The funding for the link was very small and came from a Spanish organisation and from the British Council. However, it allowed us to visit each other's universities and provided a first and significant step into the world of educational research. Rod had worked in Spain as a schoolteacher earlier in his career and realised that some useful comparisons could be made between the two education systems. The topic that was chosen for study was children's ideas about combustion. The abstract of my first academic paper (Prieto, Watson & Dillon, 1993) explains what we did:

A questionnaire survey of 300, 14 and 15 year-old pupils in England and Spain was carried out to investigate pupils' general ideas about the process of burning and their ideas about specific types of combustion, using open-ended and structured response questions. Pupils' responses were analysed and categories were defined from a classification scheme previously reported by Andersson (1990). A possible model for progression of pupils' ideas about combustion is discussed.

You can see from this abstract where science education research was at the time. There was a focus on children's ideas and an attempt to map out how they developed with time. What is less clear is the focus on practical work which British children do a lot of and Spanish children don't.
Rod was a very thorough researcher and I learned a lot from him. The size of the King's team meant that we were not completely focussed on the PGCE course and, almost as importantly, we had several staff with experience in each of the sciences. This latter fact meant that we could talk to each other about chemistry education from a position of being both ex-chemistry teachers.

Rod knew that most of the best journals to publish in were overseas. The Prieto et al. (1993) paper was published in Research in Science Education and two subsequent papers (Watson, Prieto and Dillon) were published in the Journal of Research in Science Teaching (1995) and Science Education (1997). The Science Education paper has been cited 26 times and the JRST paper 25 times which indicates that they have been useful to some people. Our relatively small study spawned several other publications based on conference proceedings (Watson and Dillon, 1995; Watson, Dillon and Miguens, 1991; Watson, Prieto and Dillon, 1995). The Watson, Dillon and Miguens paper is in Portuguese and was written in collaboration with one of Rod's PhD students, Manuel Miguens. The first that I knew of it was when Rod gave me a copy and said ‘you've got a new publication'.

Papers count more than edited books and chapters when it comes to promotion, appraisal and the research assessment exercise. I make this point at the start of an autobiographical chapter in Ken Tobin and Michael Roth's book, The Culture of Science Education. Its History in Person.
I should not be doing this. My priorities should be obtaining grants from research councils and writing papers for peer-reviewed journals. In the UK Research Assessment Exercise (RAE), which determines the "visions" and practices of all universities and most of their staff, book chapters in edited volumes usually do not count for much. During my eighteen years at King's, the RAE has steered academic life, reduced collegiality, and seriously affected research practices.
(Dillon, 2007, p. 311)

6. On controversy

Another small-scale research study that yielded some decent publications owed its origins to the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. I'd been invited to attend a workshop on environmental education and had met a host of environmental educators many of whom have remained friends for life including Chris Oulton who was then at the University of Bath. Some years later, after his move to University College Worcester, Chris approached Marcus Grace from Southampton University and me with an invitation to work together on a project called ‘Unlocking Controversial Issues' (UCI).

The funding for the UCI project came from the Countryside Foundation for Education, a small charity that had been set up to promote an understanding of the countryside as a living, working environment. Teaching about the countryside can include a range of controversial issues including factory farming, GM food, fox-hunting and organic agriculture. CFE set out to support teachers faced with teaching these controversial topics. With the advent of citizenship in the curriculum, CFE felt that teachers would need more support for the teaching of controversial issues.

We were asked to provide insights into teachers' views about the teaching of controversial issues which could then be used to provide guidance on what strategy CFE might adopt in order to better support teachers, student teachers and teacher educators. Although this was an area that interested Chris, Marcus and myself, we did not know the research particularly well and the limited funding did not allow us to do much empirical work and we only had about 8 months to do the project. We decided to use the following methods:

  • A literature survey (which yielded 52 papers, chapters, etc.)
  • Preliminary interviews with 6 teachers;
  • Four focus group interviews, two with primary teachers (Hereford and Dudley) and two with secondary teachers (London and Southampton). In all, 26 teachers participated;
  • Questionnaires to teachers (which yielded 205 responses);
  • Questionnaires to teacher trainers (which yielded 13 responses from tutors at Worcester, King's and Southampton).

Much of the work was carried out by Vanessa Day who was a colleague of Chris. Looking back, I don't think we'd have done much differently, especially given the lack of time and money. The literature review threw up a range of interesting papers and allowed us to get our heads around the idea of controversy in the classroom. It also made writing papers substantially easier.

Preliminary interviews
The preliminary interviews with six teachers allowed us to tease out what they thought about a range of topics. The questions asked during the semi-structured interviews were based on the issues that had emerged from our analysis of the literature:

  1. What topics do you teach that you consider to be controversial?
  2. Are any topics too controversial to teach?
  3. What constraints are there when teaching controversial issues?
  4. What strategies do you use when teaching about controversial issues?
  5. Have you received any specific training on teaching controversial issues?
  6. Does your school have a policy relating to the teaching of controversial issues?
  7. What stance do you adopt when you teach about controversial issues? Do you let pupils know your views on the topic?
  8. What can you say about progression in relation to controversial issues?

We concluded from the interviews that:

All teachers reported that they engage in, or have engaged at some time in, teaching controversial issues. Controversial issues are taught in primary schools although they have to be presented appropriately. Various aspects of the National Curriculum seem to act as constraints on this area. The notion of remaining neutral seems well established. There was a sense that the teachers were looking for outside support from ‘experts' or for better resources. Does this mean they feel unprepared for teaching controversial issues? Certainly no teacher reported that they had received training.

Focus groups
I find focus groups very useful in getting a sense of the range of issues that are important to participants. I'd used them in the national survey of science teachers' needs and wants in 2000 (Dillon et al., 2000) and they were useful in this study, too. The value of focus groups are that they:

  • Allow participants to express their ideas in a spontaneous manner that is not structured according to the researchers' prejudices.
  • Participants are free to volunteer information on points that are important to them.
  • They provide more in-depth insights.

(Bertrand, Brown and Ward, 1992)

We were able to set up four focus group meetings in different parts of the country. Ideally we'd have had far more but that was a luxury that we could not afford. Two focus groups were made up of primary school teachers, a third involved secondary science teachers and the fourth was made up of secondary geography teachers. The focus group were organised around the following areas:

1. Which controversial issues are taught in school? 
2. Teaching approaches and strategies. 
3. Values of the teachers, schools, pupil and community.
4. Learning outcomes.
5. Balance. 
6. Progression. 
7. Constraints. 
8. Professional Development.

Questionnaire survey
By now we had some clearer ideas about what the main issues were in the teaching of controversial issues in schools, both primary and secondary, in a range of subjects. This knowledge allowed us to draw up a questionnaire for use with a larger group of teachers. I was quite familiar with questionnaire surveys by that time having used them as a teacher and they formed the backbone of the science teachers' needs and wants survey (Dillon et al., 2000). The problem with questionnaire surveys are well known. Apart from getting the questions right, you have to find a way to get enough back to be able to do something with the results. We described our approach in a paper in the Oxford Review of Education:

In total, 600 copies of the questionnaire were distributed to an opportunity sample of schools in the Midlands, South and London areas. A total of 205 were completed and returned, giving a return rate of 34%. The resources available to us meant that no follow up strategies were used in order to increase the return rate.
(Oulton, Day et al., 2004, p. 499)

The questionnaire survey threw up some interesting results as reported in the ORE paper:

With the implementation of Citizenship and the increasing focus on teaching controversial issues, it is a concern that for the sample in this study only one in eight teachers reported that they generally felt very well prepared to teach controversial issues. This is likely to be related to the fact that almost seven out of ten teachers responding to the questionnaire claimed not to have received formal training. This situation holds when teachers' reports of the specific approaches they use for teaching controversial issues are examined. For most teaching approaches, only one in four teachers reported that they felt very well prepared.
(Oulton, Day et al., 2004, p. 502)

This small-scale study led to several papers and a modicum of notoriety. As well as the ORE paper we wrote another one which involved a reconceptualisation of the teaching of controversial issues (Oulton, Dillon and Grace, 2004) which was published in the International Journal of Science Education. In the same year I wrote a paper for the Development Education Journal which summarised the key points of our work. Later that year, I gave a talk on ‘Teaching Controversial Issues' at the British Association Festival of Science in Exeter. King's external relations team sent out a press release, that I had written advising that:

Teachers should be open with their own biases rather than pretend to be neutral and students should be asked to take any bias into account when making up their minds on a topic. Taking a neutral stance is not a good strategy for teaching children how society works.

And, I added:

The traditional approach to leading a discussion on a controversial science subject is for the teacher to take a neutral role. . . We believe that this strategy is wrong and that it is unethical to pretend to pupils that teachers have no opinion.

The Guardian's Mark Crow (2004) picked up on the story and reported it as "New research has lambasted science teaching in the UK as ‘unethical' for its failure to acknowledge the importance of personal bias". Should you wish, you can read more about what happened in my chapter (Dillon, 2008, in press) in the International Handbook on Research and Development in Technology Education edited by Alister Jones and Mark de Vries.

7. Some lessons

The combustion work and the controversial issues study both support a conclusion that you don't need a lot of money to carry out research. What you do need are colleagues in your own institution, somewhere else in the UK or even overseas who share a commitment to investigating a topic of mutual interest. The vast majority of my publications are co-authored which indicates that I enjoy working with others more than working alone. I'm quite happy to be working with people who know more than I do, who write and edit better than me, and who have sharper analytical minds - the personal benefits usually outweigh the embarrassment!

In terms of publishing, the message from the two studies and from everything else that I've published is that persistence pays. However, it's not as simple as that. I spend a lot of time reviewing papers for journals and it's usually time well spent. Not only do you keep abreast of recent research you learn what good writing looks like. The acceptance rate of the major science education research journals is pretty low but one has to bear in mind that a large number of papers are rejected almost immediately because they have not some of the basic criteria that journal editors use. If you follow the guidelines carefully and have something interesting to say, you'll at least get a couple of reviews from established academics that will help you to improve your work.

Conference attendance, though increasingly expensive, has much to commend it. I have got to know a substantial number of science and environmental educators from around the world through regular conference going. In fact I'd almost say that it is the people that primarily attract me to a conference rather than the chance of hearing new ideas.

8. Where now?

So, where am I now as a researcher? At this stage in my career with 20 years at King's and another 15 or so to go, I seem to have as much and as little control over what I'm doing as I did when I started. With Jonathan Osborne leaving for the US I have inherited PhD students and two projects. One research project involves a 5-year longitudinal study of young people's career choices and aspirations in science, funded by the Economic and Social Science Research Council (ESRC). The other one is an EU-funded study looking at factors influencing recruitment, retention and gender equity in science, technology and mathematics higher education. I had virtually no input into either project proposal and find myself with a series of research questions decided by others and, fortunately, a postdoc and two PhD students to do a lot of the data collection and analysis.

I have more control over the smaller, one-year study ‘Border Crossings' which is funded by AstraZeneca Science Teaching Trust (AZSTT) which I'm directing. We were funded by AZSTT last year to come up with some novel experiments that could be done outside the science classroom. We received about £65k which was enough to keep a colleague employed on the project for two days per week. AZSTT will fund partnerships for another year if they are going to expand the project in some meaningful way. So, I sat down one afternoon and wrote a proposal for another one-year project that involved another part of the country - Hampshire - and another subject - mathematics. Why Hampshire? Well apart from Marcus Grace being based in Southampton another friend and colleague Stuart Nundy works for the local authority and has promoted an outdoor project known as Trailblazers. Stuart invited King's to evaluate Trailblazers a few years ago and we have subsequently carried out some focus group research into teacher confidence in using the outdoors (following a call for papers on the topic of teacher confidence) (Nundy et al., 2008, in press). Why mathematics? I decided that the increased focus on STEM in schools was something that we should respond to in some way. We were successful in gaining funding for another year but the total amount is about half of what we had the previous year. Nevertheless, the demand from schools to take part in the project surprised us all. We were hoping to get 20 teachers from 10 Hampshire schools. At the first CPD session in November we had 40 teachers from 25 schools. What we need to do now is to turn these two years of development work into a proposal for a substantial piece of research.

On saying ‘no'
During my career I've frequently been advised to say ‘no' to things. If I list the writing projects that I've got underway now, you'll see why. I'm currently co-editing the following books:
International handbook of research in environmental education
A handbook of science education in Europe
Good practice in science education: What research has to say (2nd edition).
Engaging environmental education: Culture, agency and learning.
And we're planning another King's-Monash book in the summer. Next year is going to be challenging to say the least.

The Science and Technology Group has changed a great deal since I joined King's. Ros Driver was with us for a brilliant but brief two years, Rick Duschl's time with us sent us down the path of working with museums and science centres which has opened up a huge avenue of research opportunities. Rod Watson's untimely death robbed us of a good colleague and friend. However, we are blessed with three staff in their 30s, Alex Manning, Melissa Glackin and Maria Evagorou. I hope that they can avoid some of the mistakes that I have made over the years and that they can learn to say ‘no' a bit more quickly than I did.


Bertrand, J.T., Brown, J.E. and Ward, V.M. (1992). Techniques for analysing focus group data, Evaluation Review, 16, 198-209

Brody, M., Dillon, J., Stephenson, B. and Wals, A. (eds) (2008, in preparation). A Handbook of Research in Environmental Education. AERA/LEA.

Corrigan, D., Dillon, J. and Gunstone, R. (eds) (2007). The Re-emergence of Values in Science Education. Rotterdam: Sense Publications.

Crow, M. (2004). Call for a new approach to science teaching. Guardian. Retrieved from

Dillon, J. (2003) On learners and learning in environmental education: Missing theories, Ignored communities, Environmental Education Research, 9(2), 215-226.

Dillon, J. (2007). An organic intellectual? On science, education, and the environment, in K. Tobin and W.M. Roth (eds), The Culture of Science Education. Its History in Person. Rotterdam: Sense Publishers, pp. 311-322.

Dillon, J. (2008, in press). Approaching ‘soft disasters' in the classroom: teaching about controversial issues in science, technology, society and environment education. In, Jones, A. & M. de Vries (Eds), International Handbook on Research and Development in Technology Education. Rotterdam: Sense.

Dillon, J. and Maguire, M. (eds) (2007). Becoming a Teacher (3rd edition), Milton Keynes: Open University Press.

Dillon, J. and Reid, A. (2004). Issues in case study methodology in investigating environmental and sustainability issues in higher education: towards a problem-based approach? Environmental Education Research, 10(1) 23-37.

Dillon, J. and Wals, A. (2006). On the dangers of blurring methods, methodologies and ideologies in environmental education research, Environmental Education Research, 12(3/4) 549-558.

Dillon, J., Grace, M. and Oulton, C. (2004). Some critical reflections on the teaching of controversial issues in science education, Development Education Journal, 10(3), 3-6.

Dillon, J., Kelsey, E. and Duque-Aristizábal, A. M. (1999) Identity and culture: theorising emergent environmentalism, Environmental Education Research, 5(4) 395-405.

Dillon, J., Morris, M., O'Donnell, L., Reid, A., Rickinson, M, Scott, W. (2005). Engaging and Learning with the Outdoor Classroom- The Final Report of the Outdoor Classroom in a Rural Context Action Research Project. Slough: National Foundation for Educational Research.

Dillon, J., Osborne, J., Fairbrother, B., and Kurina, L. (2000). A Study into the Professional Views and Needs of Science Teachers in Primary and Secondary Schools in England. London: King's College London.

Kendall, S., Murfield, J., Dillon, J. and Wilkin, A. (2006). Education Outside the Classroom: Research to Identify What Training is Offered by Initial Teacher Training Institutions. Research Report 802. London: DfES.

Monk, M. and Dillon, J. (eds) (1995). Learning to Teach Science. London: Falmer.

Nundy, S., Dillon, J. and Dowd, P. (2008, in press). Improving and encouraging teacher confidence in out-of-classroom learning: the impact of the Hampshire Trailblazers project on 3-13 curriculum practitioners, Education 3-13.

Osborne, J. and Dillon, J. (2008). Science Education in Europe: Critical Reflections. London: The Nuffield Foundation.

Oulton, C., Day, V., Dillon, J. and Grace, M. (2004). Controversial issues - teachers' attitudes and practices in the context of citizenship education, Oxford Review of Education, 30(4), 489-507.

Oulton, C., Dillon, J. and Grace, M. (2004). Reconceptualizing the teaching of controversial issues, International Journal of Science Education, 26(4) 411-23.

Prieto, T., Watson, J. R. and Dillon, J.S. (1993). Pupils' understanding of combustion, Research in Science Education, 22, 331-40.

Rickinson, M., Dillon, J., Teamey, K., Morris, M., Choi, M. Y., Sanders, D. and Benefield, P. (2004). A Review of Research on Outdoor Learning, Preston Montford, Shropshire: Field Studies Council.

Watson, J. R., Dillon, J. and Miguens, M. (1991). Uma Experienci Pedagogica Educacao Ambiental Sem Fronteiras, Aprender, 14, 49-53.

Watson, J. R., Prieto, T. and Dillon, J (1995). The effect of practical work on pupils' understanding of combustion, Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 32(5), 487-502.

Watson, J. R., Prieto, T. and Dillon, J (1997). Consistency of students' explanations about combustion, Science Education, 81, 425-444.

Watson, J.R., Prieto, T. and Dillon, J.S. (1995). ‘Conceptual change in students: How resistant are student's alternative frameworks to change?', Actas do V Encontro Nacional de Docentes. Educacao Em Ciencias Da Natureza, Portalegre; Escola Superior de Educacao de Portalegre, February, pp. 63-75.

Watson, R. and Dillon, J. (1996). ‘Progression in Pupils' Understanding of Combustion', in G. Welford, J. Osborne and P. Scott (eds) Research in Science Education in Europe, London: Falmer, pp. 243-253.
Published: 24 Jan 2009