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ERIC Number: EJ1166989
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014-Jul
Pages: 16
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: EISSN-1756-1108
A Review of Research on the Teaching and Learning of Thermodynamics at the University Level
Bain, Kinsey; Moon, Alena; Mack, Michael R.; Towns, Marcy H.
Chemistry Education Research and Practice, v15 n3 p320-335 Jul 2014
We review previous research on the teaching and learning of thermodynamics in upper-level, undergraduate settings. As chemistry education researchers we use physical chemistry as a context for understanding the literature. During our synthesis four themes of research emerged: factors that influence student success in learning thermodynamics, understanding thermodynamics through mathematical concepts and representations, student reasoning using the particulate nature of matter, and students' alternative thermodynamic conceptions. We also draw from literature in physics education research, engineering education research, and research on undergraduate mathematics education communities to widen our perspective on the teaching and learning of thermodynamics across disciplines. Following our presentation of studies, we discuss gaps in the literature and directions for new research in line with the recommendations of the National Research Council's (2012) recent report on Discipline-Based Education Research. We also discuss implications for practice which we hope will provide increased pedagogical support for teaching thermodynamics in upper-level, undergraduate settings, especially physical chemistry.
Royal Society of Chemistry. Thomas Graham House, Science Park, Milton Road, Cambridge, CB4 0WF, UK. Tel: +44-1223 420066; Fax: +44-1223 423623; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research; Information Analyses
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A