Identifier

etd-07082014-203635

Degree

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Education

Document Type

Dissertation

Abstract

Scientific explanation and scientific argument are important aspects of science inquiry and science education. Though students of all ages find construction of written scientific explanations and arguments difficult, explicit instruction in scientific explanation and argument can improve student ability. This quantitative research study used a non-equivalent comparison group design to investigate the affect of explicit instruction of scientific explanation and argument in an undergraduate introductory biology laboratory course, using a college level appropriate modified CER Framework (McNeill et al., 2006). This study compared students receiving explicit instruction in scientific explanation and argument with students taking traditionally-designed biology laboratory courses. Students who received explicit instruction in scientific explanation and argument had significantly higher mean score increases from their pretest to posttest written scientific explanations and arguments. Additionally, students who received explicit instruction in scientific explanation and argument had significantly higher adjusted mean Colorado Learning Attitudes about Science Survey for Use in Biology (CLASS-bio) (Semsar, Knight, Birol, & Smith, 2011) posttest overall percent favorable scores, suggesting these students have more expert aligned views of biology as a discipline of science and the nature of science. Over the course of fourteen class meetings during the Fall 2013 semester, students receiving explicit instruction in scientific explanation and argument improved in ability to construct written scientific explanations and arguments. When constructing a model to explain student variation in ability to construct written scientific explanations and arguments biological content knowledge and explicit instruction were two influencing variable that contributed significantly to the model. The results of this research study provide information on the role of explicit instruction in scientific explanation and argument in undergraduate introductory biology laboratory courses, and shows how to successfully include this valuable science inquiry practice into more traditionally designed laboratories often taught in larger universities.

Date

2014

Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Student has submitted appropriate documentation to restrict access to LSU for 365 days after which the document will be released for worldwide access.

Committee Chair

Blanchard, Pamela

Included in

Education Commons

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