ERIC Number: EJ1157217
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017-Sep
Abstractor: As Provided
Investigating Undergraduate Students' Use of Intuitive Reasoning and Evolutionary Knowledge in Explanations of Antibiotic Resistance
Richard, Melissa; Coley, John D.; Tanner, Kimberly D.
CBE - Life Sciences Education, v16 n3 Article 55 Sep 2017
Natural selection is a central concept throughout biology; however, it is a process frequently misunderstood. Bacterial resistance to antibiotic medications provides a contextual example of the relevance of evolutionary theory and is also commonly misunderstood. While research has shed light on student misconceptions of natural selection, minimal study has focused on misconceptions of antibiotic resistance. Additionally, research has focused on the degree to which misconceptions may be based in the complexity of biological information or in pedagogical choices, rather than in deep-seated cognitive patterns. Cognitive psychology research has established that humans develop early intuitive assumptions to make sense of the world. In this study, we used a written assessment tool to investigate undergraduate students' misconceptions of antibiotic resistance, use of intuitive reasoning, and application of evolutionary knowledge to antibiotic resistance. We found a majority of students produced and agreed with misconceptions, and intuitive reasoning was present in nearly all students' written explanations. Acceptance of a misconception was significantly associated with production of a hypothesized form of intuitive thinking (all p = 0.05). Intuitive reasoning may represent a subtle but innately appealing linguistic shorthand, and instructor awareness of intuitive reasoning's relation to student misunderstandings has potential for addressing persistent misconceptions.
Descriptors: Undergraduate Students, College Science, Evolution, Logical Thinking, Knowledge Level, Drug Therapy, Misconceptions, Intuition, Likert Scales, Scientific Concepts, Microbiology, Statistical Analysis
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Sponsor: National Science Foundation (NSF)
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: 0954127; 1535496