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ERIC Number: EJ1060777
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015
Pages: 27
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 49
ISSN: ISSN-0950-0693
An Analysis of Metaphors Used by Students to Describe Energy in an Interdisciplinary General Science Course
Lancor, Rachael
International Journal of Science Education, v37 n5-6 p876-902 2015
The meaning of the term energy varies widely in scientific and colloquial discourse. Teasing apart the different connotations of the term can be especially challenging for non-science majors. In this study, undergraduate students taking an interdisciplinary, general science course (n?=?49) were asked to explain the role of energy in five contexts: radiation, transportation, generating electricity, earthquakes, and the big bang theory. The responses were qualitatively analyzed under the framework of conceptual metaphor theory. This study presents evidence that non-science major students spontaneously use metaphorical language that is consistent with the conceptual metaphors of energy previously identified in the discourse of students in introductory physics, biology, and chemistry courses. Furthermore, most students used multiple coherent metaphors to explain the role of energy in these complex topics. This demonstrates that these conceptual metaphors for energy have broader applicability than just traditional scientific contexts. Implications for this work as a formative assessment tool in instruction will also be discussed.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A