Development of Scientific Reasoning in Primary and Early Secondary School Pupils

Raja, Sabir Hussain (1992) Development of Scientific Reasoning in Primary and Early Secondary School Pupils. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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This study focuses on the development of scientific reasoning chains in Primary and early Secondary school pupils. Overall 798 pupils at Primary and Secondary levels (age 8-14) participated in the empirical part of the research and were selected from four primary and three secondary schools in Glasgow city. Different techniques such as, interviews (in groups of two), structured questionnaire, and stations technique with an expert at each station for 1:1 interview were employed. A digit span backward test was also used for the measurement of the psychological factor (Working Memory span), a possible factor affecting the performance of the pupils. To start with, alternative concepts held by the pupils were explored at various age levels. The alternative concepts explored have been placed in five categories. It was found that the pupils as young as 8 years have developed the ability to make sense of the world and start constructing concepts about different natural phenomena. It was also found that the pupils concentrate on the aspects of any phenomenon which can be felt by the senses. The aspects which are hidden, are difficult for them to explain. They cannot deduce hidden aspects with the mere help of senses and, are quite slow in developing deduction/ inference skills. This study indicates that their ability for deduction/inference skills may be related to their Working Memory span and that this ability i.e. length of reasoning chain held, is always within the Working Memory of the pupils. This study indicates that the pupils from 8-14 years of age can hold a maximum length of reasoning chain up to 4 reasoning steps. Moreover, this study shows that the pupils at Primary level had developed two kinds of explanations; i.e. purely alternative and a mixture of alternative and scientific explanations whereas the Secondary school pupils had developed three kinds of explanations; i.e. alternative, scientific and a mixture of alternative and scientific explanations.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Additional Information: Adviser: A H Johnstone
Keywords: Science education, Educational psychology
Date of Award: 1992
Depositing User: Enlighten Team
Unique ID: glathesis:1992-74824
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 27 Sep 2019 15:58
Last Modified: 27 Sep 2019 15:58

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