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ERIC Number: EJ1145380
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017-Aug
Pages: 19
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1571-0068
When and Why Are the Values of Physical Quantities Expressed with Uncertainties? A Case Study of a Physics Undergraduate Laboratory Course
Caussarieu, Aude; Tiberghien, Andrée
International Journal of Science and Mathematics Education, v15 n6 p997-1015 Aug 2017
The understanding of measurement is related to the understanding of the nature of science--one of the main goals of current international science teaching at all levels of education. This case study explores how a first-year university physics course deals with measurement uncertainties in the light of an epistemological analysis of measurement. The data consist of the course documents, interviews with senior instructors, and laboratory instructors' responses to an online questionnaire. During laboratory work, uncertainties are expressed in the large majority of the measurements made by the students but only in less than half of their calculation results. The instructors' expectations are that students systematically estimate uncertainties so that they become aware that measurements and calculations are never exact. However, since uncertainties are not specified for the values given in the laboratory guides, uncertainties are often missing from the results of students' calculations. The potential side effects of students' measurement understanding are discussed and suggestions for improvements are proposed.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A