ERIC Number: ED283675
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1987
Reference Count: 0
What Is Scientific Thinking?
Tweney, Ryan D.
Drawing parallels with critical thinking and creative thinking, this document describes some ways that scientific thinking is utilized. Cognitive approaches to scientific thinking are discussed, and it is argued that all science involves an attempt to construct a testable mental model of some aspect of reality. The role of mental models is portrayed with regard to problem solving and inferential thinking. Five major points are outlined that attempt to characterize scientific thinking in light of the "mental model" approach to science. These state that: (1) mental models are constructed representations of the perceptual world; (2) mental models can be verbal, visual, or mathematical in nature (or some combination of the three); (3) mental models are based on existing scripts and schemata in the knowledge base; (4) inferential extensions are not based on formal processes; and (5) seeking new data is done in ways that depend on the nature of the current mental model. Implications of this view of scientific thinking on education are disucssed, and the five points are used to evaluate a biology textbook and a physics textbook. (TW)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; 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 (Washington, DC, April 23-25, 1987). Work supported in part by the faculty research committee of Bowling Green State University.