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Improving vocational students’ consideration of source information when deciding about science controversies

An Erratum to this article was published on 26 August 2016

Abstract

We present an empirical investigation of a classroom training fostering vocational students’ consideration of source information when deciding about science-based controversies. The training was specifically aimed at raising students’ awareness of the division of cognitive labor and the resulting need to take a source’s competence into account when deciding whom to trust. Data were collected from a training group and a waiting list control group in a pretest–posttest design. The results show that students benefitted from the training in terms of their inclination to agree with pertinent expert sources rather than low-pertinent experts and to refer to the source of information to justify their judgment. Source memory was not affected by the training.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    The source memory test consisted of only four items, since an increase of the number of items would have required students to read an equivalent number of controversies. This in turn might have negatively affected students’ attention and motivation towards the end of the test phase.

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Acknowledgments

We are grateful to Annegret Hansch, Moritz Desinger, Jasmin Hettinger, Sonja Krettek, and Tobina Schubert for their help in implementing the training and data collection. We also thank the teachers of the participating school for their support. This research was supported by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG).

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Correspondence to Marc Stadtler.

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Stadtler, M., Scharrer, L., Macedo-Rouet, M. et al. Improving vocational students’ consideration of source information when deciding about science controversies. Read Writ 29, 705–729 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11145-016-9623-2

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Keywords

  • Text comprehension
  • Division of cognitive labor
  • Source evaluation
  • Science understanding