Research in Science Education

, Volume 44, Issue 5, pp 727–749 | Cite as

Using a Dialogical Approach to Examine Peer Feedback During Chemistry Investigative Task Discussion

  • Mark Gan Joo SengEmail author
  • Mary Hill


Peer feedback is an inherent feature of classroom collaborative learning. Students invariably turn to their peers for feedback when carrying out an investigative task, and this feedback is usually implicit, unstructured and may positively or negatively influence students’ learning when they work on a task. This study explored the characteristics of verbal peer feedback during a collaborative investigative chemistry task involving New Zealand Year 13 students. During the planning stage of the students’ investigation, the discussions of five pairs of students were recorded and then transcribed. Analysis of transcribed verbal data focused on interactions that involved peer feedback along two dimensions, interactive/non-interactive and dialogic/authoritative (Mortimer and Scott, 2003). The findings indicated that although students adopted a predominantly interactive/authoritative communicative approach, with peer feedback as confirmation or evaluation, they are also capable of a more interactive/dialogic exchange, characterised by elaborative peer feedback. We discuss how this dialogic perspective on peer feedback provides an alternative approach to the analysis and study of student–student interactions during science investigations. The findings should be interpreted in light of the limitations in terms of sample size, grouping and specificity of the coding scheme. Implications for teacher practice are discussed in relation to facilitating peer feedback discourse in the science classroom.


Peer feedback Discussion Discourse analysis 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of EducationThe University of AucklandAucklandNew Zealand

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