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This paper explores the potential of civic science education (CSE), which includes experiences that have been intentionally designed to foster or enhance individuals’ interactions with and/or engagement in science‐related public matters. To begin, we provide a theoretically‐ grounded definition of CSE, including three sub‐categories: foundational, exploratory, and purposefully
active. We then explore the scholarly arguments for why enacting CSE could help to support students’ science learning and civic engagement and also strengthen civil society. Next, the paper examines current educational practices related to CSE, such as citizen science, exploring socioscientific issues, and various civic education pedagogies, detailing what researchers have learned from empirical studies of these practices. Building on this prior theory and research, we argue that CSE could motivate students both to learn science and become engaged in civic issues, with slightly different expected outcomes across the three CSE categories. We conclude by encouraging educators and researchers to explore the great potential of such practices, providing specific recommendations for curriculum development and empirical studies.


This is the Author's Accepted Manuscript. The version of record appears here:

Levy, B. L. M., Oliveira, A. W., & Harris, C. B. (2021). The potential of “civic science
education”: Theory, research, practice, and uncertainties. Science Education, 1-23. DOI:10.1002/sce.21678

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