The Structure of Scientific Arguments by Secondary Science Teachers: Comparison of Experimental and Historical Science Topics Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/articles/gh93h112f

This is an author's peer-reviewed final manuscript, as accepted by the publisher. The published article is copyrighted by Taylor & Francis and can be found at:  http://www.tandfonline.com/toc/tsed20/current#.U0x5JxBnCDc.

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  • Just as scientific knowledge is constructed using distinct modes of inquiry (e.g., experimental or historical), arguments constructed during science instruction may vary depending on the mode of inquiry underlying the topic. The purpose of this study was to examine whether and how secondary science teachers construct scientific arguments during instruction differently for topics that rely on experimental or historical modes of inquiry. Four experienced high school science teachers were observed daily during instructional units for both experimental and historical science topics. The main data sources include classroom observations and teacher interviews. The arguments were analyzed using Toulmin’s argumentation pattern revealing specific patterns of arguments in teaching topics relying on these two modes of scientific inquiry. The teachers presented arguments to their students that were rather simple in structure but relatively authentic to the two different modes. The teachers used far more evidence in teaching topics based on historical inquiry than topics based on experimental inquiry. However, the differences were implicit in their teaching. Furthermore, their arguments did not portray the dynamic nature of science. Very few rebuttals or qualifiers were provided as the teachers were presenting their claims as if the data led straightforward to the claim. Implications for classroom practice and research are discussed.
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  • Gray, R., & Kang, N. H. (2014). The structure of scientific arguments by secondary science teachers: Comparison of experimental and historical science topics. International Journal of Science Education, 36(1), 46-65. doi:10.1080/09500693.2012.715779
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