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Enhancing the Quality of Argumentation in School Science

Osborne, Jonathan and Simon, Shirley and Erduran, S (2004) Enhancing the Quality of Argumentation in School Science. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 41 (10). pp. 994-1020. ISSN 0022-4308. DOI UNSPECIFIED

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The research reported in this paper focussed on the design of learning environments that support the teaching and learning of argumentation in a scientific context. The research took place over two years between 1999 and 2001 in junior high schools in the greater London area. The research was conducted in two phases. In the first developmental phase, working with a group of 12 science teachers, the main emphasis was to develop sets of materials and strategies to support argumentation in the classroom and to assess teachers‘ development with teaching argumentation. Data were collected by videoing and audio recording the teachers attempts to implement these lessons at the beginning and end of the year. During this phase, analytical tools for evaluating the quality of argumentation were developed based on Toulmin‘s argument pattern. Analysis of the data shows that there was significant development in the majority of teachers use of argumentation across the year. Results indicate that the pattern of use of argumentation is teacher specific, as is the nature of the change. In the second phase of the project, teachers taught the experimental groups a minimum of nine lessons which involved socioscientific or scientific argumentation. In addition, these teachers taught similar lessons to a control group at the beginning and end of the year. Here the emphasis lay on assessing the progression in student capabilities with argumentation. Hence data were collected from several lessons of two groups of students engaging in argumentation. Using a framework for evaluating the nature of the discourse and its quality, the findings show that there was an improvement in the quality of students‘ argumentation. In addition, the research offers methodological developments for work in this field.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: science education qualitative and quantitative study of effects on teacher change and student performance argumentation in school science - methodological developmentsin measuring argumentative skills NARST paper of the year (2004) awarded by National Association of Research in Science Teaching 2 year study: 12 teachers in year 1, 48 students in experimental groups and 48 students in control groups in year 2. Peer reviewed by 3 international referees Equal contribution towards data collection and analysis, 15% contribution to writing. The definitive version is available at
Divisions: IOE Departments > Departments > Geography, Enterprise, Mathematics and Science
IOE Departments > Departments > Curriculum, Pedagogy and Assessment
Depositing User: IOE Repository Editor (2)
Date Deposited: 21 Oct 2009 14:45
Last Modified: 29 Jan 2015 08:04
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