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The nature of advanced reasoning and science instruction

Published on Dec 1, 1982in Journal of Research in Science Teaching3.135
· DOI :10.1002/tea.3660190904
Anton E. Lawson43
Estimated H-index: 43
(ASU: Arizona State University)
Sources
Abstract
Although the development of reasoning is recognized as an important goal of science instruction, its nature remains somewhat of a mystery. This article discusses two key questions: Does formal thought constitute a structured whole? And what role does propositional logic play in advanced reasoning? Aspects of a model of advanced reasoning are presented in which hypothesis generation and testing are viewed as central processes in intellectual development. It is argued that a number of important advanced reasoning schemata are linked by these processes and should be made a part of science instruction designed to improve students' reasoning abilities. Concerning students' development and use of formal reasoning, Linn (1982) calls for research into practical issues such as the roles of task-specific knowledge and individual differences in performance, roles not emphasized by Piaget in his theory and research. From a science teacher's point of view, this is good advice. Accordingly, this article will expand upon some of the issues raised by Linn in a discussion of the nature of advanced reasoning which attempts to reconcile the apparent contradiction between students' differential use of advanced reasoning schemata in varying contexts with the notion of a general stage of formal thought. Two key questions will be discussed: Does formal thought constitute a structured whole? And what role does propositional logic play in advanced reasoning? The underlying assumption of the present discussion is that, among other things, science instruction should concern itself with the improvement of students' reasoning abilities (cf. Arons, 1976; Arons & Karplus, 1976; Bady, 1979; Bauman, 1976; Educational Policies Commission, 1966; Herron, 1978; Karplus, 1979; Kohlberg & Mayer, 1972; Moshman & Thompson, 1981; Lawson, 1979; Levine & linn, 1977; Pallrand, 1977; Renner & Lawson, 1973; Sayre & Ball, 1975; Schneider & Renner, 1980; Wollman, 1978). The questions are of interest because to date they lack clear answers, yet clear answers are necessary if we hope to design effective instruction in reasoning.
  • References (42)
  • Citations (69)
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References42
Newest
#1Marcia C. Linn (University of California, Berkeley)H-Index: 62
Piaget's theory has profoundly influenced science education research. Following Piaget, researchers have focused on content-free strategies, developmentally based mechanisms, and structural models of each stage of reasoning. In practice, factors besides those considered in Piaget's theory influence whether or not a theoretically available strategy is used. Piaget's focus has minimized the research attention placed on what could be called “practical” factors in reasoning. Practical factors are fa...
39 CitationsSource
#1David Moshman (NU: University of Nebraska–Lincoln)H-Index: 18
#2Pat Thompson (NU: University of Nebraska–Lincoln)H-Index: 2
Six sequences in the development of hypothesis-testing conceptions are proposed, involving (a) interpretation of the hypothesis; (b) the distinction between using theories and testing theories; (c) the consideration of multiple possibilities; (d) the relation of theory and data; (e) the nature of verification and falsification; and (f) the relation of truth and falsity. An alternative account is then provided involving three global stages: concrete operations, formal operations, and a postformal...
18 CitationsSource
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Recent studies of deductive reasoning are reviewed with respect to three questions: (i) Do people reason logically? (ii) Is reasoning introspectible? (iii) Is reasoning sequential? It is argued that the evidence of reasoning experiments suggests a negative answer to all three questions. This conclusion is interesting, since the last two questions at least might be answered affirmatively by common sense, and affirmative answers would be more consistent with the assumptions of many psychologists i...
59 CitationsSource
Lawson (1 979) addresses two questions of considerable importance to science educators and Piagetian psychologists. They are: is there evidence to support the contention that a unified, structured whole of operations underlies the formal operational schemata of combining variables, controlling variables, and proportions and, if
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A series of five experiments was performed comparing abstract and thematic materials in Wason's (1966) selection task. The first was designed to test the effect of negated rule components on the facilitated performance usually found with thematic rules. No such facilitation transpired, however, and the succeeding four experiments investigated possible variables which could account for this result. None of the experiments showed any facilitation of performance on thematic rules and the pattern of...
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#1Anton E. Lawson (ASU: Arizona State University)H-Index: 43
50 ninth grade students who ranged widely in language ability responded to 10 group-administered pencil-paper items requiring various components of formal reasoning (isolation and control of variables, proportional reasoning, combinatorial reasoning). Responses on the 10 items were scored as correct or incorrect. Summed scores were obtained for the three components of formal reasoning. Correlation coefficients among the 10 items ranged widely (.18 to .65) but were all substantial among the summe...
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The aim of this study is to compare the change of pre-service science teachers’ views about the nature of scientific knowledge through Project-Based History and Nature of Science training and Conventional Method. The sample of the study consists of two groups of 3rd grade undergraduate students attending teacher preparation program of science education at an education faculty in Turkey. In this study, in which quantitative and qualitative research methods are used, non-equivalent control group d...
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University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. February 2015. Major: Education, Curriculum and Instruction. Advisor: Frances P. Lawrenz. 1 computer file (PDF); ix, 232 pages, appendices A-I.