NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ1088162
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Dec
Pages: 34
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0157-244X
Uncovering Implicit Assumptions: A Large-Scale Study on Students' Mental Models of Diffusion
Stains, Marilyne; Sevian, Hannah
Research in Science Education, v45 n6 p807-840 Dec 2015
Students' mental models of diffusion in a gas phase solution were studied through the use of the Structure and Motion of Matter (SAMM) survey. This survey permits identification of categories of ways students think about the structure of the gaseous solute and solvent, the origin of motion of gas particles, and trajectories of solute particles in the gaseous medium. A large sample of data (N?=?423) from students across grade 8 (age 13) through upper-level undergraduate was subjected to a cluster analysis to determine the main mental models present. The cluster analysis resulted in a reduced data set (N?=?308), and then, mental models were ascertained from robust clusters. The mental models that emerged from analysis were triangulated through interview data and characterised according to underlying implicit assumptions that guide and constrain thinking about diffusion of a solute in a gaseous medium. Impacts of students' level of preparation in science and relationships of mental models to science disciplines studied by students were examined. Implications are discussed for the value of this approach to identify typical mental models and the sets of implicit assumptions that constrain them.
Springer. 233 Spring Street, New York, NY 10013. Tel: 800-777-4643; Tel: 212-460-1500; Fax: 212-348-4505; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education; Grade 8; Junior High Schools; Middle Schools; Elementary Education; Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A