ERIC Number: ED441700
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2000-Apr
Reference Count: N/A
Helping Students Ask Effective Questions about Scientific Claims: Navigating the "Sound Bite" Environment.
Brem, Sarah K.
This paper presents a study of 64 undergraduate students on the use and evaluation of scientific information. To assess scientific claims as they encounter them in everyday life, students need to gather information. Previous research suggests that a frequent first step is to generate an unsubstantiated casual explanation. This process could improve the search for new information or introduce strategies that lead to bias and distortion. The effect of explaining claims on the information-gathering process is examined in the context of investigating ecological problems. Explaining is manipulated as is the presence of alternative hypotheses, a common treatment for the undesirable effects of explanation. Results indicate that explaining a claim shifts the search away from covariational data that establishes the existence of a relationship and toward the gathering of noncovariational information about underlying mechanisms. This shift is partially prevented by the presence of alternatives. It is suggested that this shift is undesirable. Educational implications are discussed. (Contains 19 references.) (Author/YDS)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Science Foundation, Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: N/A