ERIC Number: ED348214
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1991
Reference Count: N/A
Scientific Reasoning: Elementary Schoolers' Evidence Based Reasoning.
Lewis, Scott; Becker, Joseph
Previous research has cast doubt on children's ability to use specified evidence when making causal inferences, or, indeed, to differentiate between the specified evidence and their own preconceptions, or "prior theories." The present study continues previous work by distinguishing between children's reasoning in conditions where sufficient or insufficient evidence is supplied, and by determining whether children appropriately change or maintain judgments when they experience reversals from sufficient evidence to insufficient evidence on a similar task. The present study extends previous work by: (1) the use of task variation designed to overcome causal reasoning compelled by the pattern of the data within task presentations; (2) the analysis of differences in reasoning between 7-year olds and 9-year olds, rather than only the latter; and (3) the utilization of both a multiple-choice format and a free-response format to minimize the "can't tell" responses. The subjects were 24 children, 12 of each age group, enrolled in a university-sponsored elementary school summer camp program. Each subject received eight tasks while individually interviewed and tape-recorded. Overall performances, in both the sufficient and insufficient evidence conditions, support the previous finding that children first relate their judgments to specified evidence when that evidence is sufficient, and only afterward might they extend this procedure to conditions where the evidence is insufficient. (JJK)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Practitioners; Researchers
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (Chicago, IL, 1991).