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ERIC Number: ED522522
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 197
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1242-4645-1
The Effects of an Interdisciplinary Undergraduate Human Biology Program on Socioscientific Reasoning, Content Learning, and Understanding of Inquiry
Eastwood, Jennifer L.
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, Indiana University
Preparing students to take informed positions on complex problems through critical evaluation is a primary goal of university education. Socioscientific issues (SSI) have been established as effective contexts for students to develop this competency, as well as reasoning skills and content knowledge. This mixed-methods study investigates the effects of an interdisciplinary undergraduate human biology program focused on the development of evidence-based reasoning to form personal commitments on SSI. Specifically, the study investigates how human biology majors differ from traditional biology majors in their reasoning with SSI, their perceptions of experiences with SSI, their understanding of scientific inquiry, their levels and perceptions of science content knowledge, and their general program perceptions. These outcomes were assessed through open-ended questionnaires on SSI and scientific inquiry and a basic biology concept test administered to 95 participants representing both programs and 16 semi-structured student interviews. Although the two groups did not differ significantly in their decisions or factors influencing their decisions in SSI, human biology majors showed higher levels of socioscientific reasoning, suggesting that learning contextualized in SSI helped them understand and reason with similar issues. While biology majors reported few experiences with socioscientific reasoning, human biology majors felt well equipped to reason with SSI and more likely to consider alternative perspectives in their decision making. Human biology majors also were more likely to view social science research as a form of inquiry and less likely to view scientific inquiry as purely experimental. No difference was found between groups in basic biology content knowledge, although human biology majors felt they were exposed to less detailed biology content. This exploratory study illustrates a novel approach to interdisciplinary, SSI-based science education at the college level. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A