Scaffolding School Students’ Scientific Argumentation in Inquiry-Based Learning with Evidence Maps

  • Alexandra Okada
Part of the Advanced Information and Knowledge Processing book series (AI&KP)


This chapter reports a research work investigating the potential of Evidence-based Dialogue Mapping to scaffold young teenagers’ scientific argumentation. Our research objective is to better understand students’ usage of dialogue maps created in Compendium to write scientific explanations in inquiry based learning projects. The participants were 20 students, 12–13 years old, in a summer science course for “gifted and talented” children in the UK. Through qualitative analysis of three case studies, we investigate the value of dialogue mapping as a mediating tool in the scientific reasoning process during a set of inquiry-based learning activities. These activities were published in an online learning environment to foster collaborative learning. Students mapped their discussions in pairs, shared maps via the online forum and in plenary discussions, and wrote essays based on their dialogue maps. This study draws on these multiple data sources: students’ maps in Compendium, writings in science and reflective comments about the uses of mapping for writing. Our analysis highlights the diversity of ways, both successful and unsuccessful, in which dialogue mapping was used by these young teenagers. It also presents future work on knowledge maps for social personal and open environments by including examples from the OpenLearn, weSPOT and ENGAGE projects.


Science Teacher Science Concept Gulf Stream Scientific Reasoning Scientific Argument 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



I am grateful to Pat O’Brien from the P&S Consultancy, whose work has been used by the National Academy for Gifted and Talented students in science and the National Learning Science Centre, for his very helpful feedback. I am grateful to Tony Sherborne from the Sheffield Hallam University, the author and coordinator of the Totally Wild Science Summer Course, for the opportunity to start this research. I am grateful to colleagues at the Open University: Karen Littleton from the Centre for Research in Education and Educational Technology for her significant comments, Simon Buckingham Shum and Michelle Bachler (both from the Knowledge Media Institute) for technical support.

weSPOT project is funded by European Community’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) under grant agreement N° 31849.

ENGAGE project is funded by European Community’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) under grant agreement N° 612269.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Knowledge Media InstituteThe Open UniversityMilton KeynesUK

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