Use of Toulmin's Argumentation Scheme for Student Discourse to Gain Insight about Guided Inquiry Activities in College Chemistry

By Kulatunga, Ushiri; Moog, Richard S. et al. | Journal of College Science Teaching, May-June 2014 | Go to article overview

Use of Toulmin's Argumentation Scheme for Student Discourse to Gain Insight about Guided Inquiry Activities in College Chemistry


Kulatunga, Ushiri, Moog, Richard S., Lewis, Jennifer E., Journal of College Science Teaching


The use of inquiry-based activities in college chemistry, physics, and biology has been shown to enhance student outcomes, such as increased achievement, knowledge gains, and understanding of scientific concepts (Bryant, 2006; Ingram, Lehman, Love, & Polacek, 2004). Although the definition of inquiry may be debated (Fay, Grove, Towns, & Bretz, 2007), there is general agreement that inquiry-based approaches help students develop the scientific thinking and process skills that they need to understand the nature of science and to act like scientists (Handelsman et al., 2004; Kuhn & Dean, 2005). Argumentation is one of those necessary skills, and research has shown that inquiry-based instruction promotes argumentation (Wilson, Taylor, Kowalski, & Carlson, 2010).

Educational researchers have also emphasized the importance of group learning. Group learning allows student interactions, feedback, and sharing of ideas that help reformulate concepts and construct new knowledge (Slavin, 1990). Recent studies have shown that allowing students to engage in group argumentation promotes students' scientific reasoning (Osborne, 2010), as well as students' understanding of science concepts (Jimenez-Aleixandre, Bugallo Rodriguez, & Duschl, 2000; Mason, 1996; Zohar & Nemet, 2002). In addition, other studies (Linden & Wittrock, 1981; Nussbaum, 2008) have suggested that verbal elaboration during group argumentation is a key element in developing content knowledge.

This study explored student discourse in a small group learning setting to gain insight about the relationship of various features of general chemistry guided-inquiry activities (ChemActivities) to the production and sophistication of arguments produced by student groups. These published materials (Moog & Farrell, 2008) are influenced by the Learning Cycle and are designed for use in groups. The Learning Cycle, described in more detail in the next section, is a pedagogic strategy derived from constructivism (Bodner, 1986) and developmental theory (Piaget, 1970) and is aligned with the way most students learn effectively (Abraham, 2005; Lawson, 1995). Although previous studies have shown that the Learning Cycle approach leads to higher science achievement, improved retention, and better reasoning abilities (Lawson, Abraham, & Renner, 1989; McComas, 1992), they have not explicitly explored how to create Learning Cycle experiences that are particularly effective in prompting student argumentation. The purpose of our study was to explore the relationship of the structure of the ChemActivities to the production of argumentation by general chemistry students.

Toulmin's Argumentation Scheme

Toulmin's (1958) Argumentation Scheme forms the initial analytic framework for this work. This scheme has been widely used by science educators to define and examine arguments. It has been helpful in understanding argumentation in a broad spectrum of subjects including mathematics (Stephan & Rasmussen, 2002; Weber, Maher, Powell, & Lee, 2008), science (Cole et al., 2012; Jimenez-Aleixandre et al., 2000; Sampson & Clark, 2009; Zohar & Nemet, 2002), and English (Mitchell, 1996). In Toulmin's model (Figure 1), there are several specific components of an argument. The claim is the conclusion at which one arrives after considering the data. The data consist of evidence, information, facts, or procedures that lead to the claim. The warrant explains how the data or evidence leads to the claim. These three components (claim, data, and warrant) are essential and constitute the core of the argument. In this study, arguments containing only this core were labeled basic arguments. Stronger arguments that were labeled higher level arguments contain a backing or a rebuttal. A backing explains why the warrant has authority and provides further validity for the argument. A rebuttal is a counter claim or a refutation of one or more components of the argument. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Use of Toulmin's Argumentation Scheme for Student Discourse to Gain Insight about Guided Inquiry Activities in College Chemistry
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.