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ERIC Number: EJ1074451
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Aug
Pages: 17
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1089-9995
Strategies and Perceptions of Students' Field Note-Taking Skills: Insights from a Geothermal Field Lesson
Dohaney, Jacqueline; Brogt, Erik; Kennedy, Ben
Journal of Geoscience Education, v63 n3 p233-249 Aug 2015
Field note-taking skills are fundamental in the geosciences but are rarely explicitly taught. In a mixed-method study of an introductory geothermal field lesson, we characterize the content and perceptions of students' note-taking skills to derive the strategies that students use in the field. We collected several data sets: observations of the field lesson, hard-copy notebooks (n = 42), and interview data (n = 16). Our analysis of the notebooks revealed note-taking strategies on two dimensions, consistent with earlier findings in the literature: students' ability to write in their own words (uniqueness; U), and the amount of necessary information recorded (completeness; C). We propose several factors that influenced the students' notes: lecturer differences, previous field experience, and gender. Two different lecturers (1 and 2) taught the lesson on two different days. The note-taking task covered similar content but was not scripted, resulting in lecturer differences. Lecturer 1 included rich peripheral information, and the other reiterated the need ''to think for yourself'' and ''focus on observations'' (resulting in higher U scores for lecturer 2's students). We also found that students with ''high'' previous field experience had higher U scores. Interview data corroborated this finding, indicating that field experience helped students to ''know what to look for.'' Lastly, female students generally achieved higher C scores than male students. Females used more words (verbosity), and this likely led to higher values achieved. To improve note-taking skills, we suggest breaking down complex field lessons into simple, manageable parts to manage students' cognitive load.
National Association of Geoscience Teachers. Carleton College W-SERC, One North College Street, Northfield, MN 55057. Tel: 540-568-6675; Fax: 540-568-8058; e-mail:; Website:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Netherlands; New Zealand; United Kingdom; United States
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A