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A cross-sectional study of scientific thinking skills of learners at various levels
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Boo, H. K. (1999). A cross-sectional study of scientific thinking skills of learners at various levels. In S. P. Loo (Ed.), Proceeds of the MERA-ERA Joint conference 1999: Educational Challenges in the New Millennium (pp. 431-436). Malacca, Malaysia.
This paper reports on the results of a study which examined the ability of learners (N=100) at various levels (i.e., students at JC1 (junior college year 1) [N=25], JC2 (junior college year 2) (N=45), fourth year university [N=12] and post-graduate levels [N=23]) to think scientifically when presented with a range of familiar chemical phenomena. The main data collection instrument was the clinical interview. Each subject was interviewed in-depth for about one hour on a one-to-one basis. Each interview was taped, transcribed verbatim and then analysed. Five familiar chemical reactions were used as foci for discussion in the interviews. For each reaction, each interviewee was asked, among other things, to make predictions about the overall energy change involved, and to make explanations as to why the change took place, i.e., the driving force for the change. The results show that significant proportions of the interviewees across the various levels were using perceptually dominated thinking rather than conceptually dominated thinking; at the same time, they were unable to use science concepts consistently across the five reactions. It can thus be inferred that they were unable to think
This paper was published in the 1999 Proceedings of the MERA-ERA Joint Conference held at Malacca, Malaysia from 1-3 December 1999
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