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Scientific Argumentation as an Epistemic Practice: Secondary Students’ Critique of Science Research Posters

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Science Education in the 21st Century

Abstract

Scientific argumentation has been an actively researched topic for almost 30 years. Predominant school science argumentation interventions focus on students constructing arguments using a component’s template to produce good scientific arguments. In recent years, researchers have called for a shift toward interpreting argumentation as an epistemic practice comprising critique in addition to the construction of scientific claims. This chapter presents a study that looked at argumentation through a different lens—the epistemic practice approach to argumentation—that emphasizes students’ critique of others’ epistemic products (e.g., a science poster) as the trajectory for developing students’ critical stance in argumentation. The study took place in a Singapore secondary school’s inquiry course. Student-teacher discourse during a science research poster critique activity is examined between groups in two learning environments: student-centered critique (Class A) versus teacher-centered critique (Class B). Prior to the poster critique activity, Class A students experienced student-centered critique instruction and practiced critiquing literature using scientific soundness criteria (SSC). Class B students experienced teacher-centered critique instruction whereby the teacher proposed ideas for students’ inquiry project, students reviewed literature by summarizing, and the teacher critiqued students’ review. Findings on groups’ productive disciplinary engagement in critique and construction (PDE-CC) practices and incorporation of PDE-CC guiding principles—problematizing, resources, disciplinary accountability, and epistemic authority—suggest the alternative approach of developing students’ critical stance via engagement in critique practices using critique criteria is a promising approach to improve critique practices in the science classroom.

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Correspondence to Yann Shiou Ong .

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Ong, Y.S., Duschl, R.A., Plummer, J.D. (2020). Scientific Argumentation as an Epistemic Practice: Secondary Students’ Critique of Science Research Posters. In: Teo, T.W., Tan, AL., Ong, Y.S. (eds) Science Education in the 21st Century. Springer, Singapore. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-15-5155-0_6

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-15-5155-0_6

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