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ERIC Number: EJ1022260
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013-Jun
Abstractor: As Provided
Observational Investigation of Student Problem Solving: The Role and Importance of Habits
Gulacar, Ozcan; Bowman, Charles R.; Feakes, Debra A.
Science Education International, v24 n2 p344-360 Jun 2013
The problem-solving strategies of students enrolled in general chemistry courses have been the subject of numerous research investigations. In most cases, the investigators were interested in the specific areas or concepts that posed the greatest difficulty to a student's success in achieving the correct answer. However, the investigation reported here is based on a study of student problem-solving habits that have been classified by the authors as minor variables: what is the first step that the students complete, how fluent is their work, do they check their work at the end of the process? While these minor variables do not directly evaluate a student's knowledge of chemistry, the results indicate a clear correlation between those students who are "successful" and those students who are "unsuccessful" on a written exam. The data were obtained via observation during think-aloud sessions held in a Midwestern university in the United States of America. The aim of this study is to give educators an understanding of the strategies used by the students as well as provide instructors with visual cues regarding a student's success in problem solving. These problem-solving habits may not directly affect the student's ultimate solution of a single problem, but can indirectly influence their overall performance in either a positive or negative manner.
Descriptors: Problem Solving, College Students, Chemistry, Science Instruction, College Science, Predictor Variables, Correlation, Science Tests, Protocol Analysis, Learning Strategies, Undergraduate Study, Student Characteristics, Stoichiometry, Mixed Methods Research, Observation, Academic Achievement, Comparative Analysis, Study Habits
International Council of Associations for Science Education. Dokuz Eylul University Faculty of Education, Buca, Izmir 35150, Turkey. Tel: +90-532-4267927; Fax: +90-232-4204895; Web site: http://icaseonline.net
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A