Academic journal article Kuram ve Uygulamada Egitim Bilimleri

Investigating the Effect of Argument-Driven Inquiry in Laboratory Instruction*

Academic journal article Kuram ve Uygulamada Egitim Bilimleri

Investigating the Effect of Argument-Driven Inquiry in Laboratory Instruction*

Article excerpt

After the Soviet Union launched Sputnik in 1957, there was an inquiry about the reasons for the technological gap between the United States and the Soviet Union in the space race. There appeared a need for reform in education, especially in science and mathematics. This led to a revision in educational programs from primary school to institutions of higher education in the United States (Hiatt, 1986). With the post-sputnik era, scientific inquiry and laboratory training became an important part of science education (Anderson, 2007; Hiatt, 1986).

Scientific inquiry is the basis for research and study (Anderson, 2007; Cobern et al., 2010), and argumentation is one of the most important processes of scientific inquiry (Sampson, Grooms, & Walker, 2011). The evaluation and interpretation of evidence, the evaluation of the validity of scientific knowledge, and thinking about different ideas are the core elements of argumentation and science. They play an important role in the construction of scientific knowledge (Diver, Newton, & Osborne, 2000; Duschl & Osborne, 2002). In science education, students should engage in activities that require them to use effective language and perform scientific reasoning with their peers and teachers. This means participating in the construction and evaluation of scientific argumentation (Duschl & Osborne, 2002).

Argumentation plays a crucial role in the construction of scientific explanation and creation of theories. Scientists engage in argumentation to create and improve scientific knowledge (Aufschnaiter, Erduran, Osborne, & Simon, 2008; Nussbaum & Sinatra, 2003). Engaging in the process of argumentation requires students to make claims, use data to support their claims, and justify claims with scientific evidence. With this process, students learn science concepts and have the opportunity to practice the methods used by scientists to justify or refute their claims. During scientific argumentation, students reflect their own ideas and learn about the ideas of others. Hence, it helps to correct misconceptions and ensures a meaningful learning experience (Aufschnaiter et al., 2008).

Scientific inquiry and argumentation has a crucial place in science education (Duschl & Osborne, 2002; Zohar & Nemet, 2002). Argumentation is a discussion format that needs to be taken seriously by students and be taught explicitly in science classes through appropriate teaching and modeling methods (Duschl & Osborne, 2002; Jiménez-Aleixandre & Erduran, 2008; Jiménez-Aleixandre, Rodriguez, & Duschl, 2000; Kelly, Druker, & Chen, 1998). Although argumentation has an important place in science education, it is rarely used in science courses or laboratory activities (Driver et al., 2000; Jimenez-Alexander et al., 2000; Newton, Driver, & Osborne, 1999; Wellington & Osborne, 2001).

In recent years, a great number of studies have been carried out on the implementation of argumentation in science classes (Aufschnaiter et al., 2008; Driver et al., 2000; Duschl & Osborne, 2002; Kelly & Takao, 2002; Zohar & Nemet, 2002). In those studies, it was highlighted that the reasoning skills, argument and counter-argument construction skills of teachers and pre-service science teachers, as well as teacher strategies to engage students in argumentation were faulty (Driver et al., 2000; Zeidler, 1997; Zohar, 2008). Lots of science teachers have problems integrating argumentation and using scientific inquiry in their class, as well as engaging students in scientific inquiry to help them understand the development of important concepts in science (Sampson & Gleim, 2009; Simon, Erduran, & Osborne, 2006). Studies show inconsistent results in the development of argumentation skills of students who engage in scientific inquiry activities. As a result of the analysis carried out after the laboratory practices of Kelly et al. (1998) on electrical circuits with mystery boxes, it was found that most of the time students completed their arguments without warranting, and in this respect, these are fallacies. …

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