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The Relationship of Discipline Background to Upper Secondary Students´ Argumentation on Socioscientific Issues
Karlstad University, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (starting 2013), Department of Geography, Media and Communication.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-4306-8278
Karlstad University, Faculty of Health, Science and Technology (starting 2013), Department of Engineering and Chemical Sciences.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-9521-1737
University of South Florida, USA.
2014 (English)In: Research in science education, ISSN 0157-244X, E-ISSN 1573-1898, Vol. 44, no 4, p. 581-601Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In the present STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics)-driven society, socioscientific issues (SSI) have become a focus globally and SSI research has grown into an important area of study in science education. Since students attending the social and science programs have a different focus in their studies and research has shown that students attending a science program are less familiar with argumentation practice, we make a comparison of the supporting reasons social science and science majors use in arguing different SSI with the goal to provide important information for pedagogical decisions about curriculum and instruction. As an analytical framework, a model termed SEE-SEP covering three aspects (of knowledge, value, and experiences) and six subject areas (of sociology/culture, economy, environment/ecology, science, ethics/morality, and policy) was adopted to analyze students’ justifications. A total of 208 upper secondary students (105 social science majors and 103 science majors) from Sweden were invited to justify and expound their arguments on four SSI including global warming, genetically modified organisms (GMO), nuclear power, and consumer consumption. The results showed that the social science majors generated more justifications than the science majors, the aspect of value was used most in students’ argumentation regardless of students’ discipline background, and justifications from the subject area of science were most often presented in nuclear power and GMO issues. We conclude by arguing that engaging teachers from different subjects to cooperate when teaching argumentation on SSI could be of great value and provide students from both social science and science programs the best possible conditions in which to develop argumentation skills.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer, 2014. Vol. 44, no 4, p. 581-601
Keywords [en]
Argumentation, Socioscientific issues, Resources of justifications, Discipline background, The SEE-SEP model
National Category
Biological Sciences Educational Sciences
Research subject
Biology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-7092DOI: 10.1007/s11165-013-9394-6ISI: 000339348500004OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kau-7092DiVA, id: diva2:399094
Note

This article was part of a licentiate and was included as manuscript.

Available from: 2011-02-21 Created: 2011-02-21 Last updated: 2017-12-11Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Knowledge, Value and Personal experience: Upper secondary students' resources of supporting reasons when arguing socioscientific issues
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Knowledge, Value and Personal experience: Upper secondary students' resources of supporting reasons when arguing socioscientific issues
2011 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis focuses on upper secondary students’ use of resources in their supporting reasons when arguing socioscientific issues (SSIs). The skills of argumentation have been emphasized in science education during the past decades and SSIs are proven a good context for learners to enhance skills of argumentation and achieve the goal of scientific literacy. Research has shown that supporting reasons from various resources are embedded in students’ argumentation on SSIs, and also that multi-perspective involvement in reasoning is important for the quality of argumentation. To explore the reasons used by students in arguing about SSIs in this thesis, the SEE-SEP model was adopted as an analytical framework. The SEE-SEP model covers the six subject areas of sociology/culture, economy, environment/ecology, science, ethics/morality and policy, which are connected to the three aspects of knowledge, value and personal experience. Two studies covering four SSIs (global warming, GMO, nuclear power and consumption) explore how students construct arguments on one SSI topic chosen by them. In paper I, I investigated students’ use of resources in their informal argumentation and to what extent students made use of knowledge. The results showed that students used value to a larger extent (67%) than knowledge (27%). I also found that the distribution of supporting reasons generated by students varied from the different SSIs. In paper II, I explored students’ use of resources in relation to students’ study background (science majors and social-science majors) and gender. The results showed that social-science majors and females generated more numbers of reasons and also showed a larger amount of multi-disciplinary resources in their supporting reasons. From the findings of this thesis, the SEE-SEP model was established as a suitable model used to analyze students’ resources of supporting reasons while arguing about SSIs. Furthermore, the potential for applying the SEE-SEP model in teachers’ SSI-teaching and students’ SSI-learning is suggested. The implications to research and teaching are also discussed.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Karlstad: Karlstads universitet, 2011. p. 36
Series
Karlstad University Studies, ISSN 1403-8099 ; 2011:8
Series
Studies in Science and Technology Education, ISSN 1652-5051 ; 34
Keywords
socioscientific issues, informal agumentation, SEE-SEP model
National Category
Didactics
Research subject
Biology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-6815 (URN)978-91-7063-340-9 (ISBN)
Presentation
2011-03-11, 11D 227, Karlstads universitet, Universitetsgatan 1, Karlstad, 10:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2011-02-22 Created: 2011-01-26 Last updated: 2015-04-17Bibliographically approved
2. Socioscientific argumentation: Aspects of content and structure
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Socioscientific argumentation: Aspects of content and structure
2015 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Socioscientific argumentation has shown to be a feasible educational framework for promoting citizenship and for cultivating scientific literacy. However, there are several aspects of this educational framework that have been shown to be problematic. Consequently, in this thesis I investigated various aspects of quality of socioscientific argumentation from both an upper secondary student and a teacher perspective. By using students’ written argumentation on socioscientific issues (SSI) I studied how they justified their claims. The results showed that different SSI led students to use different subject areas in their justifications. I also compared science majors with social science majors and found that the number of justifications provided by the students is related to their discipline background. In these two studies, a new content focused analytical framework for analyzing content aspects of socioscientific argumentation, the SEE-SEP model, was used and shown to be suitable for this purpose. However, to ensure that students are able to produce high-quality arguments I suggest that both content and structural aspects need to be considered. As a result of this, I have presented a framework based on research literature and the Swedish curriculum, for analyzing and assessing both these aspects of socioscientific argumentation. Moreover, I investigated how science and language teachers assess students’ socioscientific argumentation and found that the science teachers focused on students’ ability to reproduce content knowledge, whereas language teachers focused on students’ ability to use content knowledge from references, and the structural and linguistic aspects of argumentation.

 

The complexity of teaching socioscientific argumentation makes it difficult to teach and assess comprehensively. In order to promote quality and include both content and structural aspects, I suggest that a co-operation among teachers of different disciplines is beneficial.

Abstract [en]

Socioscientific argumentation has shown to be a feasible educational framework for promoting citizenship and scientific literacy. In this thesis I investigated various aspects of quality of students socioscientific argumentation and how teachers assess this. The results showed that different SSI led students to use different subject areas in their justifications and that the number of justifications provided by the students is related to their discipline background. Moreover, to promote students high-quality arguments I have presented a framework for analyzing and assessing both content and structural aspects. I also investigated how science and language teachers assess students’ socioscientific argumentation and found that the science teachers focused on students’ ability to reproduce content knowledge, whereas language teachers focused on students’ ability to use content knowledge from references, and the structural and linguistic aspects of argumentation. The complexity of teaching socioscientific argumentation makes it difficult to teach and assess comprehensively. In order to promote quality and include both content and structural aspects, I suggest that a co-operation among teachers of different disciplines is beneficial.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Karlstad: Karlstads universitet, 2015. p. 73
Series
Karlstad University Studies, ISSN 1403-8099 ; 2015:26
Keywords
Socioscientific argumentation, socioscientific issues, argumentation
National Category
Other Biological Topics Didactics Pedagogical Work
Research subject
Biology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-35869 (URN)978-91-7063-641-7 (ISBN)
Public defence
2015-06-05, 9C203, Nyquistsalen, Karlstads universitet, Karlstad, 10:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

Article IV was in manuscript form at the time of the thesis defense and has been published afterwards.

Available from: 2015-05-20 Created: 2015-04-17 Last updated: 2017-08-21Bibliographically approved

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Christenson, NinaChang Rundgren, Shu-Nu

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