• Mehmet AydenizEmail author
  • Aybuke Pabuccu
  • Pinar Seda Cetin
  • Ebru Kaya


The purpose of this study was to explore the impact of argumentation-based pedagogy on college students’ conceptual understanding of properties and behaviors of gases. The sample consists of 108 students (52 in the control group and 56 in the intervention group) drawn from 2 general chemistry college courses taught by the same instructor. Data were collected through pre- and post-tests. The results of the study show that the intervention group students performed significantly better than the control group students on the post-test. The intervention group students also showed significant increase in their test scores between pre- and post-test. While at least 80 % of the students in the intervention group abandoned their initial ideas on all of the 17 alternative conceptions that were identified by the authors but one, the percent of student abandoning their initial ideas in the control group was less than 50. The discussion focuses on the implications of these results for addressing students’ alternative conceptions, promoting the argumentation–pedagogy in college science courses and the challenges associated with the use of argumentation in college science classrooms.


alternative misconceptions argumentation college science gases 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Supplementary material


  1. Aldridge, J. M., Fraser, B. J., Taylor, P. C. & Chen, C. C. (2000). Constructivist learning environments in a cross-national study in Taiwan and Australia. International Journal of Science Education, 22, 37–55.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Anderson, C. (2007). Perspectives on science learning. In S. K. Abell & N. Lederman (Eds.), Handbook of research in science education (pp. 3–30). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
  3. Baker, M. J. (1999). Argumentation and constructive interactions. In P. Coirer & J. Andriessen (Eds.), Foundations of argumentative text processing (pp. 179–202). Amsterdam, the Netherlands: University of Amsterdam Press.Google Scholar
  4. Beall, H. (1994). Probing student misconceptions in thermodynamics with in-class writing. Journal of Chemical Education, 71(12), 1056–1057.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Beeth, M. E. (1998). Teaching for conceptual change: Using status as a metacognitive tool. Science Education, 82, 343–356.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bell, P. & Linn, M. C. (2000). Scientific arguments as learning artifacts: Designing for learning from the web with KIE. International Journal of Science Education, 22(8), 797–817.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Benson, D. L., Wittrock, M. & Baur, M. E. (1993). Students’ preconceptions of the nature of gases. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 30, 558–597.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bonder, G. M. (1991). I have found you an argument. Journal of Chemical Education, 68, 385–388.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Bricker, L. & Bell, P. (2008). Conceptualizations of argumentation from science studies and the learning sciences and their implications for the practices of science education. Science Education, 92(3), 473–498.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Cetin, P., Kaya, E. & Geban, O. (2009). Facilitating conceptual change in gases concepts. Journal of Science Education and Technology, 18, 130–137.Google Scholar
  11. Cross, D., Taasoobshirazi, G., Hendricks, S. & Hickey, D. T. (2008). Argumentation: A strategy for improving achievement and revealing scientific identities. International Journal of Science Education, 30(6), 837–861.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Driver, R., Newton, P. & Osborne, J. (2000). Establishing the norms of scientific argumentation in classrooms. Science Education, 84, 287–312.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Duschl, R. & Grandy, R. (Eds.). (2008). Teaching scientific inquiry: Recommendations for research and implementation. Rotterdam, the Netherlands: Sense.Google Scholar
  14. Erduran, S., Ardac, D. & Yakmaci-Guzel, B. (2006). Learning to teach argumentation: Case studies of pre-service secondary science teachers. Eurasia Journal of Mathematics, Science and Technology Education, 2(2), 1–14.Google Scholar
  15. Erduran, S. & Jimenez-Aleixandre, M. P. (Eds.). (2008). Argumentation in science education: Perspectives from classroom-based research. Dordrecht, the Netherlands: Springer.Google Scholar
  16. Griffiths, A. K. & Preston, K. R. (1992). Grade 12 students’ alternative conceptions relating to fundamental characteristics of atoms and molecules. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 29(6), 611–628.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Hwang, B., & Chiu, S. (2004). The effect of a computer instructional model in bringing about a conceptual change in students’ understanding of particulate concepts of gas. In Paper presented in Informing Science and IT Education Joint Conference, Rockhampton, Australia.Google Scholar
  18. Jimenex-Aleixandre, M. P. & Pereiro-Munoz, C. (2002). Knowledge producers or knowledge consumers? Argumentation and decision making about environmental management. International Journal of Science Education, 24, 1171–1190.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Jimenez-Aleixandre, M. P., Bugallo-Rodriguez, A. & Duschl, R. A. (2000). ‘Doing the lesson’ or ‘doing science’: Argument in high school genetics. Science Education, 84(6), 757–792.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Kautz, C. H., Heron, P. R. L., Loverude, M. E. & McDermott, L. C. (2005a). Student understanding of the ideal gas law, part I: A macroscopic perspective. American Journal of Physics, 73, 1055–1063.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Kautz, C. H., Heron, P. R. L., Shaffer, P. S. & McDermott, L. C. (2005b). Student understanding of the ideal gas law, part II: A microscopic perspective. American Journal of Physics, 73, 1064–1071.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Kelly, G. & Chen, C. (1999). The sound of music: Constructing science as sociocultural practices through oral and written discourse. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 36(8), 883–915.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Kelly, G. & Takao, A. (2002). Epistemic levels in argument: An analysis of university oceanography students’ use of evidence in writing. Science Education, 86(3), 314–342.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Keys, C. W. (1999). Language as an indicator of meaning generation: An analysis of middle school students’ written discourse about scientific investigations. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 36(9), 1044–1106.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Kuhn, D. (1993). Science as argument: Implications for teaching and learning scientific thinking. Science Education, 77(3), 319–337.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Kuhn, D. (2010). Teaching and learning science as argument. Science Education, 94(5), 810–824.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Latour, B. & Woolgar, S. (1986). Laboratory life: The construction of scientific facts. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  28. Leach, J. (1999). Students’ understanding of the co-ordination of theory and evidence in science. International Journal of Science Education, 21(8), 789–806.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Liu, X. (2006). Effects of combined hands-on laboratory and computer modeling on student learning of gas laws: A quasi-experimental study. Journal of Science Education and Technology, 15(1), 89–100.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Lustick, D. (2010). The priority of the question: Focus questions for sustained reasoning in science. Journal of Science Teacher Education, 21(5), 495–511.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Madden, S. P., Jones, L. L. & Rahm, J. (2011). The role of multiple representations in the understanding of ideal gas problems. Chemistry Education Research and Practice, 12, 283–293.Google Scholar
  32. Mason, L. (1996). An analysis of children’s construction of new knowledge through their use of reasoning and arguing in classroom discussions. Qualitative Studies in Education, 9(4), 411–433.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. McNeill, K. L., & Knight, A. M. (2011). The effect of professional development on teachers’ beliefs and pedagogical content knowledge for scientific argumentation. In Paper presented at the annual meeting of the National Association for Research in Science Teaching, Orlando, FL.Google Scholar
  34. Mercer, C. D., Jordan, L. & Miller, S. P. (1996). Constructivistic math instruction for diverse learners. Learning Disabilities Research and Practice, 11, 147–156.Google Scholar
  35. Newton, P., Driver, R. & Osborne, J. (1999). The place of argumentation in the pedagogy of school science. International Journal of Science Education, 21, 553–576.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Osborne, J., Erduran, S. & Simon, S. (2004). Enhancing the quality of argument in school science. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 41, 994–1020.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Prain, V. (2006). Learning from writing in secondary science: Some theoretical and practical implications. International Journal of Science Education, 28(2), 179–201.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Sampson, V. (2009). Science teachers and scientific argumentation: Trends in practice and beliefs. In Paper presented at the Annual International Conference of the National Association of Research in Science Teaching (NARST), Garden Grove, CA.Google Scholar
  39. Şenocak, E., Taşkesenligil, Y. & Sözbilir, M. (2007). A study on teaching gases to prospective primary science teachers through problem-based learning. Research in Science Education, 37, 279–290.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Shemwell, J. T. & Furtak, E. M. (2010). Science classroom discussion as scientific argumentation: A study of conceptually rich (and poor) student talk. Educational Assessment, 15(3–4), 222–250.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Toulmin, S. (1958). The uses of argument. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  42. Venville, G. J. & Dawson, V. M. (2010). The impact of a classroom intervention on grade 10 students’ argumentation skills, informal reasoning, and conceptual understanding of science. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 47, 952–977. doi: 10.1002/tea.20358.Google Scholar
  43. von Aufschnaiter, C., Erduran, S., Osborne, J. & Simon, S. (2008). Arguing to learn and learning to argue: Case studies of how students’ argumentation relates to their scientific knowledge. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 45(1), 101–131.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Vosniadou, S., Ioannides, C., Dimitrakopoulou, A. & Papademetriou, E. (2001). Designing learning environments to promote conceptual change in science. Learning and Instruction, 11, 381–419.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Vygotsky, L. S. (1978). Mind and society: The development of higher psychological processes. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  46. Walker, J., Sampson, V., Grooms, J., Anderson, B., & Zimmerman, C. (2010). Argument-driven inquiry: An instructional model for use in undergraduate chemistry labs. In Paper presented at the 2010 Annual International Conference of the National Association of Research in Science Teaching (NARST), Philadelphia, PA.Google Scholar
  47. Wiebe, R. & Stinner, A. (2010). Using story to help students’ understanding of gas behavior. Interchange, 41(4), 347–361.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Zohar, A. & Nemet, F. (2002). Fostering students’ knowledge and argumentation skills through dilemmas in human genetics. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 39(1), 35–62.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© National Science Council, Taiwan 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mehmet Aydeniz
    • 1
    Email author
  • Aybuke Pabuccu
    • 2
  • Pinar Seda Cetin
    • 2
  • Ebru Kaya
    • 3
  1. 1.The University of TennesseeKnoxvilleUSA
  2. 2.Abant Izzet Baysal UniversityBoluTurkey
  3. 3.Selcuk UniversityKonyaTurkey

Personalised recommendations