Some assembly required: How scientific explanations are constructed during clinical interviews

Bruce L Sherin*, Moshe Krakowski, Victor R. Lee

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

37 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This article is concerned with commonsense science knowledge, the informally gained knowledge of the natural world that students possess prior to formal instruction in a scientific discipline. Although commonsense science has been the focus of substantial study for more than two decades, there are still profound disagreements about its nature and origin, and its role in science learning. What is the reason that it has been so difficult to reach consensus? We believe that the problems run deep; there are difficulties both with how the field has framed questions and the way that it has gone about seeking answers. In order to make progress, we believe it will be helpful to focus on one type of research instrument-the clinical interview-that is employed in the study of commonsense science. More specifically, we argue that we should seek to understand and model, on a moment-by-moment basis, student reasoning as it occurs in the interviews employed to study commonsense science. To illustrate and support this claim, we draw on a corpus of interviews with middle school students in which the students were asked questions pertaining to the seasons and climate phenomena. Our analysis of this corpus is based on what we call the mode-node framework. In this framework, student reasoning is seen as drawing on a set of knowledge elements we call nodes, and this set produces temporary explanatory structures we call dynamic mental constructs. Furthermore, the analysis of our corpus seeks to highlight certain patterns of student reasoning that occur during interviews, patterns in what we call conceptual dynamics. These include patterns in which students can be seen to search through available knowledge (nodes), in which they assemble nodes into an explanation, and in which they converge on and shift among alternative explanations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)166-198
Number of pages33
JournalJournal of Research in Science Teaching
Volume49
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2012

Fingerprint

interview
student
science
scientific discipline
climate
instruction
learning

Keywords

  • clinical interviews
  • conceptual change
  • misconceptions
  • science learning
  • seasons

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education

Cite this

@article{81ed9930f5c1432fbc0c5191557f0d39,
title = "Some assembly required: How scientific explanations are constructed during clinical interviews",
abstract = "This article is concerned with commonsense science knowledge, the informally gained knowledge of the natural world that students possess prior to formal instruction in a scientific discipline. Although commonsense science has been the focus of substantial study for more than two decades, there are still profound disagreements about its nature and origin, and its role in science learning. What is the reason that it has been so difficult to reach consensus? We believe that the problems run deep; there are difficulties both with how the field has framed questions and the way that it has gone about seeking answers. In order to make progress, we believe it will be helpful to focus on one type of research instrument-the clinical interview-that is employed in the study of commonsense science. More specifically, we argue that we should seek to understand and model, on a moment-by-moment basis, student reasoning as it occurs in the interviews employed to study commonsense science. To illustrate and support this claim, we draw on a corpus of interviews with middle school students in which the students were asked questions pertaining to the seasons and climate phenomena. Our analysis of this corpus is based on what we call the mode-node framework. In this framework, student reasoning is seen as drawing on a set of knowledge elements we call nodes, and this set produces temporary explanatory structures we call dynamic mental constructs. Furthermore, the analysis of our corpus seeks to highlight certain patterns of student reasoning that occur during interviews, patterns in what we call conceptual dynamics. These include patterns in which students can be seen to search through available knowledge (nodes), in which they assemble nodes into an explanation, and in which they converge on and shift among alternative explanations.",
keywords = "clinical interviews, conceptual change, misconceptions, science learning, seasons",
author = "Sherin, {Bruce L} and Moshe Krakowski and Lee, {Victor R.}",
year = "2012",
month = "2",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1002/tea.20455",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "49",
pages = "166--198",
journal = "Journal of Research in Science Teaching",
issn = "0022-4308",
publisher = "John Wiley and Sons Inc.",
number = "2",

}

Some assembly required : How scientific explanations are constructed during clinical interviews. / Sherin, Bruce L; Krakowski, Moshe; Lee, Victor R.

In: Journal of Research in Science Teaching, Vol. 49, No. 2, 01.02.2012, p. 166-198.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

TY - JOUR

T1 - Some assembly required

T2 - How scientific explanations are constructed during clinical interviews

AU - Sherin, Bruce L

AU - Krakowski, Moshe

AU - Lee, Victor R.

PY - 2012/2/1

Y1 - 2012/2/1

N2 - This article is concerned with commonsense science knowledge, the informally gained knowledge of the natural world that students possess prior to formal instruction in a scientific discipline. Although commonsense science has been the focus of substantial study for more than two decades, there are still profound disagreements about its nature and origin, and its role in science learning. What is the reason that it has been so difficult to reach consensus? We believe that the problems run deep; there are difficulties both with how the field has framed questions and the way that it has gone about seeking answers. In order to make progress, we believe it will be helpful to focus on one type of research instrument-the clinical interview-that is employed in the study of commonsense science. More specifically, we argue that we should seek to understand and model, on a moment-by-moment basis, student reasoning as it occurs in the interviews employed to study commonsense science. To illustrate and support this claim, we draw on a corpus of interviews with middle school students in which the students were asked questions pertaining to the seasons and climate phenomena. Our analysis of this corpus is based on what we call the mode-node framework. In this framework, student reasoning is seen as drawing on a set of knowledge elements we call nodes, and this set produces temporary explanatory structures we call dynamic mental constructs. Furthermore, the analysis of our corpus seeks to highlight certain patterns of student reasoning that occur during interviews, patterns in what we call conceptual dynamics. These include patterns in which students can be seen to search through available knowledge (nodes), in which they assemble nodes into an explanation, and in which they converge on and shift among alternative explanations.

AB - This article is concerned with commonsense science knowledge, the informally gained knowledge of the natural world that students possess prior to formal instruction in a scientific discipline. Although commonsense science has been the focus of substantial study for more than two decades, there are still profound disagreements about its nature and origin, and its role in science learning. What is the reason that it has been so difficult to reach consensus? We believe that the problems run deep; there are difficulties both with how the field has framed questions and the way that it has gone about seeking answers. In order to make progress, we believe it will be helpful to focus on one type of research instrument-the clinical interview-that is employed in the study of commonsense science. More specifically, we argue that we should seek to understand and model, on a moment-by-moment basis, student reasoning as it occurs in the interviews employed to study commonsense science. To illustrate and support this claim, we draw on a corpus of interviews with middle school students in which the students were asked questions pertaining to the seasons and climate phenomena. Our analysis of this corpus is based on what we call the mode-node framework. In this framework, student reasoning is seen as drawing on a set of knowledge elements we call nodes, and this set produces temporary explanatory structures we call dynamic mental constructs. Furthermore, the analysis of our corpus seeks to highlight certain patterns of student reasoning that occur during interviews, patterns in what we call conceptual dynamics. These include patterns in which students can be seen to search through available knowledge (nodes), in which they assemble nodes into an explanation, and in which they converge on and shift among alternative explanations.

KW - clinical interviews

KW - conceptual change

KW - misconceptions

KW - science learning

KW - seasons

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84855945067&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=84855945067&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1002/tea.20455

DO - 10.1002/tea.20455

M3 - Review article

AN - SCOPUS:84855945067

VL - 49

SP - 166

EP - 198

JO - Journal of Research in Science Teaching

JF - Journal of Research in Science Teaching

SN - 0022-4308

IS - 2

ER -