Conceptual Blending Monitoring Students’ Use of Metaphorical Concepts to Further the Learning of Science

Alexandra Fredriksson, Susanne Pelger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (SciVal)


The aim of this study is to explore how tertiary science students’ use of metaphors in their popular science article writing may influence their understanding of subject matter. For this purpose, six popular articles written by students in physics or geology were analysed by means of a close textual analysis and a metaphor analysis. In addition, semi-structured interviews were conducted with the students. The articles showed variation regarding the occurrence of active (non-conventional) metaphors, and metaphorical concepts, i.e. metaphors relating to a common theme. In addition, the interviews indicated that students using active metaphors and metaphorical concepts reflected more actively upon their use of metaphors. These students also discussed the possible relationship between subject understanding and creation of metaphors in terms of conceptual blending. The study suggests that students’ process of creating metaphorical concepts could be described and visualised through integrated networks of conceptual blending. Altogether, the study argues for using conceptual blending as a tool for monitoring and encouraging the use of adequate metaphorical concepts, thereby facilitating students’ opportunities of understanding and influencing the learning of science.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)917-940
Number of pages24
JournalResearch in Science Education
Issue number3
Early online date2018 Mar 30
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Other Natural Sciences not elsewhere specified
  • Educational Sciences


  • Conceptual blending
  • Education
  • Learning
  • Metaphor
  • Metaphor analysis
  • Metaphorical concepts
  • Natural science
  • Popular science writing
  • Semi-structured interview


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