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Concept of Evidence and the Quality of Evidence-Based Reasoning in Elementary Students

  • Andrea Miralda-BandaEmail author
  • Merce Garcia-Mila
  • Mark Felton


The present study has two goals: to explore elementary students’ understanding of evidence and the ways they deploy it to construct arguments, and to examine whether eliciting their concept of evidence during argumentation improves students’ evidence-based reasoning. Individual semi-structured interviews were conducted with 4th and 6th graders (N = 66) in a public school in Mexico. We found significant differences between groups regarding the concept of evidence, with better performance in the older group. A positive correlation between the concept of evidence and the quality of evidence-based reasoning was found. Also, three performance profiles were observed after eliciting the concept of evidence when grade was excluded as a factor. Results suggest that the concept of evidence plays an essential role in developing argumentative competence in pre-adolescence.


Concept of evidence Argumentation quality Elementary school Evidence-based reasoning Evidence generation Evidence quality 



This study was supported by the Mexican Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología (CONACYT) and the Spanish Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad (EDU2013-47593-C2-2-P; DGICYT 2018_RTI2018-097289-B-I00 and the PRX18/00039).


This Study was supported by the Mexican Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tectonología (Andrea Miralda-Banda, PhD Grant), and the Spanish Ministerio de Economía y Competeitividad (Merce Garcia-Mila, Grants Nos.: EDU2013-47593-C2-2-P; DGICYT 2018_RTI2018-097289-B-I00 and PRX18/00039).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

Andrea Miralda-Banda declares that she has no conflict of interest. Merce Garcia-Mila declares that she has no conflict of interest. Mark Felton declares that he has no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Cognition, Development and Educational PsychologyUniversity of BarcelonaBarcelonaSpain
  2. 2.Department of Teacher EducationSan Jose State UniversitySan JoséUSA
  3. 3.BarcelonaSpain

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