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Concept mapping in physics in an Irish university: an investigation into the application of the tool with particular reference to its relevance to problem solving and the use of scientific language

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dc.contributor.advisor McClelland, George Broggy, Joanne 2015-07-23T10:24:21Z 2015-07-23T10:24:21Z 2010
dc.description peer-reviewed en_US
dc.description.abstract Irish students’ interest and enjoyment of science deteriorates as they progress through formal education and subsequently enrolments in the physical sciences at second and third level education are low. Research in science education has identified reasons for the poor uptake of science subjects with attitude identified as a key factor (Regan, 2005; Smyth and Hannon, 2002). This thesis documents a research study in which Concept Mapping was introduced into a third level education physics classroom with the aim to improve students’ attitude towards Physics (Phase 1 and Phase 2). The research was developed further to investigate the role of Concept Mapping in analysing physics students’ use of scientific language when problem solving (Phase 3). Due to the diversity of the research questions a mixed-model methodology was employed incorporating both qualitative and quantitative research paradigms. The research participants employed in this action research study (longitudinal study) consists of 88 pre-service science teachers enrolled in a science education degree in the University of Limerick. The initial phases (Phase 1 and Phase 2) of this longitudinal study examined the use of Concept Mapping in third level education in Ireland and analysed pre-service science teachers’ opinion of the tool. The third phase of the study involved the analysis of the research participant’s use of scientific language. Experts were recruited in this phase to examine the comparable use of language used by both students (novice) and experts. Data collection tools involved the use of student constructed concept maps, questionnaires and semi-structured interviews. The research findings from this study support the use of Concept Mapping in third level education, particularly for use in pre-service science education courses. The findings strongly indicate that third level physics students find Concept Mapping extremely useful in the classroom, both as a student and a teacher. The students report positive views on the use of the tool when learning physics and also on improving their attitude towards physics. The findings outlined from the third phase of the study indicate that there are several levels of scientific language used when problem solving, namely scientific, intermediate and instinctive, however there is a clear distinction in the approaches used by experts and novices. An important outcome of this study is the relationship between proficiency in scientific language and ability in problem solving. The essential role of scientific language in problem solving is identified through this research as it is the means by which students explain their understanding of physical phenomenon when answering both qualitative and quantitative word problems. This research provides information that can be used to improve the teaching and learning of science subjects, both at pre-service and in-service level. en_US
dc.language.iso eng en_US
dc.publisher University of Limerick en_US
dc.subject science en_US
dc.subject Irish students en_US
dc.subject mapping in physics en_US
dc.title Concept mapping in physics in an Irish university: an investigation into the application of the tool with particular reference to its relevance to problem solving and the use of scientific language en_US
dc.type info:eu-repo/semantics/doctoralThesis en_US
dc.type.supercollection all_ul_research en_US
dc.type.supercollection ul_published_reviewed en_US
dc.type.supercollection ul_theses_dissertations en_US
dc.rights.accessrights info:eu-repo/semantics/openAccess en_US

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