Conceptual dynamics in clinical interviews

Bruce Sherin*, Victor R. Lee, Moshe Krakowski

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

2 Scopus citations


One of the main tools that we have for the study of student science conceptions is the clinical interview. Research on student understanding of natural phenomena has tended to understand interviews as tools for reading out a student's knowledge. In this paper, we argue for a shift in how we think about and analyze interview data. In particular, we argue that we must be aware that the interview itself is a dynamic process during which a sort of conceptual change occurs. We refer to these short time-scale changes that occur over a few minutes in an interview as conceptual dynamics. Our goal is to devise new frameworks and techniques for capturing the conceptual dynamics. To this end, we have devised a simple and neutral cognitive framework. In this paper, we describe this framework, and we show how it can be applied to understand interview data. We hope to show that the conceptual dynamics of interviews are complex, but that it nonetheless feasible to make them a focus of study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication2007 Physics Education Research Conference, PERC
Number of pages4
StatePublished - 2007
Event2007 Physics Education Research Conference: Cognitive Science and Physics Education Research, PERC - Greensboro, NC, United States
Duration: Aug 1 2007Aug 2 2007

Publication series

NameAIP Conference Proceedings
ISSN (Print)0094-243X
ISSN (Electronic)1551-7616


Other2007 Physics Education Research Conference: Cognitive Science and Physics Education Research, PERC
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityGreensboro, NC


  • Cognitive science
  • Conceptual change
  • Learning theory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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