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ERIC Number: EJ1084259
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Dec
Pages: 10
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0021-9584
Atoms versus Bonds: How Students Look at Spectra
Cullipher, Steven; Sevian, Hannah
Journal of Chemical Education, v92 n12 p1996-2005 Dec 2015
Students often face difficulties when presented with chemical structures and asked to relate them to properties of those substances. Learning to relate structures to properties, both in predicting properties based on chemical structures and interpreting properties to infer structure, is pivotal in students' education in chemistry. This troublesome but critical concept is often referred to as structure-property relationships. While there is no shortage of literature on students' difficulties with this concept, there is a lack of methodologies that can directly and quantitatively reveal underlying assumptions about structure-property relationships that constrain students' thinking. This study applied a "chemical thinking" lens to elucidate assumptions about structure-property relationships thinking. A combination of qualitative analysis using a think-aloud interview protocol was used with quantitative analysis of eye tracking data to probe students' reasoning when relating molecular structures of volatile hydrochlorocarbons to infrared spectral properties. Our initial findings offer partial validation of a newly developed methodology for analyzing eye tracking data to expose reasoning patterns that appear to correspond to identifiable underlying assumptions.
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: National Science Foundation (NSF)
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: DRL1221494; DRL1222624