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ERIC Number: EJ921979
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 11
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 20
ISSN: ISSN-1554-9178
Interference between Electric and Magnetic Concepts in Introductory Physics
Scaife, Thomas M.; Heckler, Andrew F.
Physical Review Special Topics - Physics Education Research, v7 n1 p010104-1-010104-11 Jan-Jun 2011
We investigate student confusion of concepts of electric and magnetic force. At various times during a traditional university-level course, we administered a series of simple questions about the direction of force on a charged particle moving through either an electric or a magnetic field. We find that after electric force instruction but before magnetic force instruction most students answer electric force questions correctly, and we replicate well-known results that many students incorrectly answer that magnetic forces are in the same direction as the magnetic field. After magnetic force instruction, most students answer magnetic force questions correctly, but surprisingly many students incorrectly answer that electric forces are perpendicular to electric fields, as would happen if a student confused electric forces with magnetic forces. As a further indication of interference between electric and magnetic concepts, we also find that students' responses depend on whether electric or magnetic force questions are posed first, and this effect depends on whether electric or magnetic force was most recently taught. (Contains 8 figures.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Ohio