ERIC Number: EJ1067687
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Jul
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 49
Use of Representation Mapping to Capture Abstraction in Problem Solving in Different Courses in Chemistry
Sevian, H.; Bernholt, S.; Szteinberg, G. A.; Auguste, S.; Pérez, L. C.
Chemistry Education Research and Practice, v16 n3 p429-446 Jul 2015
A perspective is presented on how the representation mapping framework by Hahn and Chater (1998) may be used to characterize reasoning during problem solving in chemistry. To provide examples for testing the framework, an exploratory study was conducted with students and professors from three different courses in the middle of the undergraduate chemistry curriculum. Each participant's reasoning while solving exam problems was characterized by comparing the stored knowledge representation used as a resource and the new instance representation associated with the problem being solved. Doing so required consideration of two ways in which abstraction occurs: abstractness of representations, and abstracting while using representations. The representation mapping framework facilitates comparison of the representations and how they were used. This resulted in characterization of reasoning as memory-bank or rule-based (rules processes), or similarity-based or prototype (similarity processes). Rules processes were observed in all three courses. Similarity-based reasoning seldom occurred in students, but was common to all of the professors' problem solving, though with higher abstractness than in students. Examples from the data illustrate how representation mapping can be used to examine abstraction in problem solving across different kinds of problems and in participants with different levels of expertise. Such utility could permit identifying barriers to abstraction capacity and may facilitate faculty assessment development. The article contains a combined list of notes and references.
Descriptors: Chemistry, Science Instruction, Problem Solving, Undergraduate Study, College Science, College Faculty, Knowledge Level, Abstract Reasoning, Cognitive Processes, Cognitive Mapping, Undergraduate Students, Teaching Methods, Semi Structured Interviews, Coding, Logical Thinking
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Sponsor: National Science Foundation (NSF)
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: 1348722|1348632