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A Framework for Assessment of Socioscientific Argumentation
Karlstad University, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (starting 2013), Department of Geography, Media and Communication. (SMEER)ORCID iD: 0000-0003-4306-8278
2016 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation only (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

A framework for assessment of socio-scientific argumentation

The ability to produce a convincing argument with evidence to support a claim is important for participants in a democratic society. Research on students’ argumentation and reasoning on socio-scientific issues (SSI) has been extensive over the past decades due to its importance in science education. SSI provide a context where students can engage in reasoning and argumentation that involves the generation and evaluation of positions in response to complex issues which often lack definite solutions and have links to science and implications in society.

Research includes a great variety among the analytical frameworks that have been developed to study students’ arguments. Most of these frameworks focus on either the structure of the argument or the content and are hard to use due to its complexity and in some cases more suitable to scientific argumentation rather than informal argumentation on SSI. Consequently, there is a need for frameworks that analyze the overarching patterns of socio-scientific arguments related to both the content as well as the structure. Accordingly, this framework should not be too complicated in its organization but possible to be used for assessment purposes for teachers as well as students own practice in order to improve their argumentation.

Consequently, the aim of this research is to present a new analytical framework with focus on content, structure and the nature of the justifications that can be applied on socio-scientific argumentation. This framework is presented by applying it to authentic grade 12-students’ written arguments on a SSI about genetically modified organisms (GMO).

There are two main components relating to the structural aspects: claim (decision) and justification (with pros and cons). Justification is defined as a combination of data, warrant and backings. The justification(s) that the arguers state in favor of their own claims are the pros and the justification(s) the arguers state against their own claims are the cons. Moreover, the justification can consist of value-laden statements when the arguers express their values on the issue and/or knowledge based statements when the arguers use conceptual knowledge to support their claims (and the content in the pros and cons are part of the content aspects, se below).

The content aspect (knowledge) in the justifications (can be both pros or cons) is presented as different subjects that are based on the conceptual knowledge linked to a specific field or discipline such as politics, chemistry, economy etc. that arguers use in their justifications.

Clearly, it is of great importance that the conceptual knowledge is relevant and scientifically correct, and this is why an explicit category about the conceptual knowledge is added to the framework:

  1. Correct and relevant content knowledge included
  2. Non-specific general knowledge (not directly related to the issue/focus)
  3. Incorrect content knowledge included (misconception or superficial scientific knowledge)

This framework explicitly includes bot the structural and the content parts of a valid argument and will be fruitful both for future research on informal SSI-argumentation as well as in science education where the framework can be used as a tool assessing arguments considering both structure and content and consequently to assess the arguments as a whole.

 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016.
National Category
Didactics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-64374OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kau-64374DiVA: diva2:1145553
Conference
EASE (International Conference of East-Asia Association for Science Education),26-28 augusti Tokyo 2016.
Available from: 2017-09-29 Created: 2017-09-29 Last updated: 2017-10-11Bibliographically approved

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