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ERIC Number: EJ1028483
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013-Oct
Pages: 8
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0021-9584
From Source to Sink: Mechanistic Reasoning Using the Electron-Pushing Formalism
Bhattacharyya, Gautam
Journal of Chemical Education, v90 n10 p1282-1289 Oct 2013
Since the introduction of Morrison and Boyd's textbook in organic chemistry over 50 years ago, reaction mechanisms and mechanistic reasoning using the electron-pushing formalism (EPF) have become a mainstay of organic chemistry courses. In recent years there have even been several papers in this Journal and others detailing research on how students attend to various aspects of this formalism. However, there are no explicit articulations of a definition or framework in the chemical or science education research literature on mechanistic reasoning using EPF. Although practicing chemists intuitively know what constitutes mechanistic reasoning, this paper presents results of a nationwide study of organic chemistry faculty regarding their understanding and use of this technique. Although a consensus definition did not emerge from this research, there were several common features to them. These features suggest an activity that has a back-of-the-envelope quality meant to generate possible pathways based on established patterns of reactivity. Consistent with this view, the experts' focus for skills required to develop dexterity in this type of mechanistic reasoning was on applied ones rather than those that are more theoretical in nature. Finally, the principal uses of mechanistic reasoning using EPF, according to the respondents, are to explain and predict outcomes of chemical processes.
Division of Chemical Education, Inc and ACS Publications Division of the American Chemical Society. 1155 Sixteenth Street NW, Washington, DC 20036. Tel: 800-227-5558; Tel: 202-872-4600; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A