Preliminary findings regarding students’ predictions in novel situations: the role of self-generated analogies in non-scientific reasoning

Fotou, Nikolaos and Abrahams, Ian (2013) Preliminary findings regarding students’ predictions in novel situations: the role of self-generated analogies in non-scientific reasoning. In: Proceedings of the ESERA 2013 Conference: Science Education Research For Evidence-based Teaching and Coherence in Learning, 2 - 7 September 2013, Nicosia, Cyprus.

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Item Type:Conference or Workshop contribution (Paper)
Item Status:Live Archive


This small scale pilot study was the first stage of a larger cross age study
designed to investigate students’ predictions in novel situations and the role that self-generated
analogies play in non-scientific reasoning. The study used a mixed method
approach composed of a combination of interviews and questionnaires. Thirteen, sixteen
and twelve students were recruited from Year 4, Year 9 and Year 11 (aged 9-10, 15-16 and
16-17 years) respectively from three different schools in Greece.

Nine student focus group interviews were conducted in combination with the
administration of a six pictorial item questionnaire. All interviews were audio-tape
recorded and additional data were also collected through the use of written responses to the
questionnaire. Students’ responses were analysed to ascertain whether their predictions
drew on the use of analogies and, if so, the nature of the analogy that was used. It emerged
that there were many similarities among students’ predictions as well as the analogies they
used to explain the latter. Also, preliminary findings suggest that in many cases when
students demonstrated non-scientific reasoning they drew on analogies which made them
make a prediction which is not compatible with the scientific view. It also emerged that the
analogies used by students in Years 4 and 9, when presented with the same novel situations
in which they were required to make a prediction, were, in many cases, similar irrespective
of their year group. Whilst students in Year 11 did make use of those similar analogies the
frequency with which they drew on analogies, to make predictions, appeared much less that
for the two younger student groups.

This study found that students regularly make use of analogies, rather than scientific
thinking, and that teachers need to be more aware of the nature of the analogies used and
how, and why, these analogies can, in many cases, lead students to make scientifically
incorrect predictions.

Keywords:predictions, analogies, reasoning, novel situations
Subjects:X Education > X320 Academic studies in Primary Education
X Education > X390 Academic studies in Education not elsewhere classified
X Education > X300 Academic studies in Education
X Education > X330 Academic studies in Secondary Education
X Education > X900 Others in Education
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Education
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ID Code:18934
Deposited On:07 Oct 2015 08:30

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