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ERIC Number: EJ1117108
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016-Nov
Pages: 30
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0036-8326
A Comparison of Scientists' Arguments and School Argumentation Tasks
MacPherson, Anna C.
Science Education, v100 n6 p1062-1091 Nov 2016
This study sought to investigate the arguments that ecologists engage in as part of their work and to compare their arguments with the way in which ecological arguments have been presented in school argumentation tasks. Ten ecologists, in subfields ranging from individual/behavioral ecology to global ecology, participated in semistructured interviews. Transcripts were coded using a framework for analyzing arguments as well as open coding to identify emergent themes. Ecologists' descriptions of their arguments were compared with a set of published school argumentation tasks. Ecologists' descriptions differed from school tasks mainly in terms of the types of claims offered. Whereas the ecologists all mentioned "causal claims" (i.e., claims that attempt to offer an underlying cause for natural phenomena), school argumentation tasks asked students to construct and critique mainly "descriptive claims" (i.e., claims that describe natural phenomena) and "prescriptive claims" (i.e., claims about human decision making). Furthermore, while ecologists emphasized the importance of critique in their arguments, school argumentation tasks generally ignored this aspect. The lack of materials addressing causal claims raises questions: Why are these types of claims absent from school science, and how can we design tasks that ask students to construct and, importantly, "critique" such claims?
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A