ERIC Number: ED481211
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 2004-Jan
Patterns of Informal Reasoning in the Context of Socioscientific Decision-Making.
Sadler, Troy D.; Zeidler, Dana L.
The purpose of this article is to contribute to a theoretical knowledge base through research by examining factors salient to science education reform and practice in the context of socioscientific issues. The study explores how individuals negotiate and resolve genetic engineering dilemmas. A mixed-methods approach was used to examine patterns of informal reasoning and the role of morality in these processes. Thirty college students participated individually in 2 semi-structured interviews designed to explore their informal reasoning in response to 6 genetic engineering scenarios. Students demonstrated evidence of rationalistic, emotive, and intuitive forms of informal reasoning. Rationalistic informal reasoning described reason-based considerations; emotive informal reasoning described care-based consideration; and intuitive reasoning described considerations based on immediate reactions to the context of a scenario. Participants frequently relied on combinations of these reasoning patterns as they worked to resolve individual socioscientific scenarios. Most of the participants appreciated at least some of the moral implications of their decisions, and these considerations were typically interwoven within an overall pattern of informal reasoning. These results highlight the need to ensure that science classrooms are environments in which intuition and emotion in addition to reason are valued. Implications and recommendations for future research are discussed. (Author)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Association for the Education of Teachers of Science (Nashville, TN, January 8-11, 2004).