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Socioscientific argumentation: Aspects of content and structure
Karlstad University, Faculty of Health, Science and Technology (starting 2013), Department of Environmental and Life Sciences. (SMEER)ORCID iD: 0000-0003-4306-8278
2015 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Socioscientific argumentation has shown to be a feasible educational framework for promoting citizenship and for cultivating scientific literacy. However, there are several aspects of this educational framework that have been shown to be problematic. Consequently, in this thesis I investigated various aspects of quality of socioscientific argumentation from both an upper secondary student and a teacher perspective. By using students’ written argumentation on socioscientific issues (SSI) I studied how they justified their claims. The results showed that different SSI led students to use different subject areas in their justifications. I also compared science majors with social science majors and found that the number of justifications provided by the students is related to their discipline background. In these two studies, a new content focused analytical framework for analyzing content aspects of socioscientific argumentation, the SEE-SEP model, was used and shown to be suitable for this purpose. However, to ensure that students are able to produce high-quality arguments I suggest that both content and structural aspects need to be considered. As a result of this, I have presented a framework based on research literature and the Swedish curriculum, for analyzing and assessing both these aspects of socioscientific argumentation. Moreover, I investigated how science and language teachers assess students’ socioscientific argumentation and found that the science teachers focused on students’ ability to reproduce content knowledge, whereas language teachers focused on students’ ability to use content knowledge from references, and the structural and linguistic aspects of argumentation.

 

The complexity of teaching socioscientific argumentation makes it difficult to teach and assess comprehensively. In order to promote quality and include both content and structural aspects, I suggest that a co-operation among teachers of different disciplines is beneficial.

Abstract [en]

Socioscientific argumentation has shown to be a feasible educational framework for promoting citizenship and scientific literacy. In this thesis I investigated various aspects of quality of students socioscientific argumentation and how teachers assess this. The results showed that different SSI led students to use different subject areas in their justifications and that the number of justifications provided by the students is related to their discipline background. Moreover, to promote students high-quality arguments I have presented a framework for analyzing and assessing both content and structural aspects. I also investigated how science and language teachers assess students’ socioscientific argumentation and found that the science teachers focused on students’ ability to reproduce content knowledge, whereas language teachers focused on students’ ability to use content knowledge from references, and the structural and linguistic aspects of argumentation. The complexity of teaching socioscientific argumentation makes it difficult to teach and assess comprehensively. In order to promote quality and include both content and structural aspects, I suggest that a co-operation among teachers of different disciplines is beneficial.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Karlstad: Karlstads universitet, 2015. , 73 p.
Series
Karlstad University Studies, ISSN 1403-8099 ; 2015:26
Keyword [en]
Socioscientific argumentation, socioscientific issues, argumentation
National Category
Other Biological Topics Didactics Pedagogical Work
Research subject
Biology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-35869ISBN: 978-91-7063-641-7 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kau-35869DiVA: diva2:806023
Public defence
2015-06-05, 9C203, Nyquistsalen, Karlstads universitet, Karlstad, 10:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

Article IV was in manuscript form at the time of the thesis defense and has been published afterwards.

Available from: 2015-05-20 Created: 2015-04-17 Last updated: 2017-08-21Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Using the SEE-SEP model to analyse upper secondary students' use of supporting reasons in arguing socioscientific issues
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Using the SEE-SEP model to analyse upper secondary students' use of supporting reasons in arguing socioscientific issues
2012 (English)In: Journal of Science Education and Technology, ISSN 1059-0145, E-ISSN 1573-1839, Vol. 21, no 3, 342-352 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

To achieve the goal of scientific literacy, the skills of argumentation have been emphasized in science education during the past decades. But the extent to which students can apply scientific knowledge to their argumentation is still unclear. The purpose of this study was to analyse 80 Swedish upper secondary students' informal argumentation on four socioscientific issues (SSIs) to explore students' use of supporting reasons and to what extent students used scientific knowledge in their arguments. Eighty upper secondary students were asked to express their opinions on one SSI topic they chose through written reports. The four SSIs in this study include global warming, genetically modified organisms (GMO), nuclear power, and consumption. To analyse students' supporting reasons from a holistic view, we used the SEE-SEP model, which links the six subject areas of sociology/culture (So), environment (En), economy (Ec), science (Sc), ethics/morality (Et) and policy (Po) connecting with three aspects, and (KVP). The results showed that students used value to a greater extent (67%) than they did scientific knowledge (27%) for all four SSI topics. According to the SEE-SEP model, the distribution of supporting reasons generated by students differed among the SSI topics. Also, some alternative concepts were disclosed in students' arguments. The implications for research and education are discussed.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer, 2012
Keyword
Socioscientific issues; Informal argumentation; Scientific literacy; Scientific knowledge; The SEE-SEP model; Holistic view
National Category
Biological Sciences
Research subject
Biology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-7091 (URN)10.1007/s10956-011-9328-x (DOI)000303866300003 ()
Available from: 2011-02-21 Created: 2011-02-21 Last updated: 2017-12-11Bibliographically approved
2. The Relationship of Discipline Background to Upper Secondary Students´ Argumentation on Socioscientific Issues
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The Relationship of Discipline Background to Upper Secondary Students´ Argumentation on Socioscientific Issues
2014 (English)In: Research in science education, ISSN 0157-244X, E-ISSN 1573-1898, Vol. 44, no 4, 581-601 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In the present STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics)-driven society, socioscientific issues (SSI) have become a focus globally and SSI research has grown into an important area of study in science education. Since students attending the social and science programs have a different focus in their studies and research has shown that students attending a science program are less familiar with argumentation practice, we make a comparison of the supporting reasons social science and science majors use in arguing different SSI with the goal to provide important information for pedagogical decisions about curriculum and instruction. As an analytical framework, a model termed SEE-SEP covering three aspects (of knowledge, value, and experiences) and six subject areas (of sociology/culture, economy, environment/ecology, science, ethics/morality, and policy) was adopted to analyze students’ justifications. A total of 208 upper secondary students (105 social science majors and 103 science majors) from Sweden were invited to justify and expound their arguments on four SSI including global warming, genetically modified organisms (GMO), nuclear power, and consumer consumption. The results showed that the social science majors generated more justifications than the science majors, the aspect of value was used most in students’ argumentation regardless of students’ discipline background, and justifications from the subject area of science were most often presented in nuclear power and GMO issues. We conclude by arguing that engaging teachers from different subjects to cooperate when teaching argumentation on SSI could be of great value and provide students from both social science and science programs the best possible conditions in which to develop argumentation skills.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer, 2014
Keyword
Argumentation, Socioscientific issues, Resources of justifications, Discipline background, The SEE-SEP model
National Category
Biological Sciences Educational Sciences
Research subject
Biology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-7092 (URN)10.1007/s11165-013-9394-6 (DOI)000339348500004 ()
Note

This article was part of a licentiate and was included as manuscript.

Available from: 2011-02-21 Created: 2011-02-21 Last updated: 2017-12-11Bibliographically approved
3. A Framework for Teachers’ Assessment of Socio-scientific Argumentation: An example using the GMO issue
Open this publication in new window or tab >>A Framework for Teachers’ Assessment of Socio-scientific Argumentation: An example using the GMO issue
2014 (English)In: Journal of Biological Education, ISSN 0021-9266, E-ISSN 2157-6009, no 2, 204-212 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Socio-scientific issues (SSI) have proven to be suitable contexts for students to actively reflect on and argue about complex social issues related to science. Research has indicated that explicitly teaching SSI argumentation is a good way to help students develop their argumentation skills and make them aware of the complexity of SSI. However, assessing the quality of students’ arguments on SSI is evidently difficult for many teachers. This article aims to facilitate teachers’ assessment of the quality of students’ arguments on SSI by introducing a new assessment framework that represents a low degree of complexity and exemplifying it by applying it to students’ written SSI argumentation concerning genetically modified organisms (GMO). The new assessment framework considers both the quality indicators presented in the research literature and curricular guidelines for the science courses in Swedish secondary and upper secondary school. The framework focuses on both the content and the structure that can be revealed in students’ SSI argumentation and is meant to function as a tool for identifying quality indicators that could serve as the basis for grading.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Routledge, 2014
Keyword
Socio-scientific issues, Argumentation, Reasoning, Assessment, Framework
National Category
Didactics
Research subject
Biology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-35871 (URN)10.1080/00219266.2014.923486 (DOI)000354174600009 ()
Available from: 2015-04-17 Created: 2015-04-17 Last updated: 2017-12-06Bibliographically approved
4. Science and language teachers' assessment of upper secondary students' socioscientific argumentation
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Science and language teachers' assessment of upper secondary students' socioscientific argumentation
2016 (English)In: International Journal of Science and Mathematics Education, ISSN 1571-0068, E-ISSN 1573-1774, 1-20 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Researchers and policy-makers have recognized the importance of including and promoting socioscientific argumentation in science education worldwide. The Swedish curriculum focuses more than ever on socioscientific issues (SSI) as well. However, teaching socioscientific argumentation is not an easy task for science teachers and one of the more distinguished difficulties is the assessment of students’ performance. In this study, we investigate and compare how science and Swedish language teachers, participating in an SSI-driven project, assessed students’ written argumentation about global warming. Swedish language teachers have a long history of teaching and assessing argumentation and therefore it was of interest to identify possible gaps between the two groups of teachers’ assessment practices. The results showed that the science teachers focused on students’ content knowledge within their subjects, whereas the Swedish language teachers included students’ abilities to select and use content knowledge from reliable reference resources, the structure of the argumentation and the form of language used. Since the Swedish language teachers’ assessment correlated more with previous research about quality in socioscientific argumentation, we suggest that a closer co-operation between the two groups could be beneficial in terms of enhancing the quality of assessment. Moreover, SSI teaching and learning as well as assessment of socioscientific argumentation ought to be included in teacher training programs for both pre- and in-service science teachers.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer, 2016
Keyword
Assessment, Socioscientific argumentation, Socioscientific issues, Upper secondary teachers
National Category
Educational Sciences Biological Sciences
Research subject
Biology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-45719 (URN)10.1007/s10763-016-9746-6 (DOI)
Available from: 2016-09-05 Created: 2016-09-05 Last updated: 2017-08-21Bibliographically approved

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