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Exploring the roots of rigor: Exploring a methodology for analyzing the conceptual change from novice to expert

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Published on February 11, 2009

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Exploring Roots of Rigor Meena Kharatmal & Nagarjuna G. Gnowledge lab, Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education, Tata Institute of Fundamental research Mumbai, India [email_address] www.gnowledge.org

Meena Kharatmal & Nagarjuna G.

Gnowledge lab,

Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education,

Tata Institute of Fundamental research

Mumbai, India

[email_address]

www.gnowledge.org

Full title A PROPOSAL OF A METHODOLOGY FOR ANALYZING THE CONCEPTUAL CHANGE FROM A NOVICE TO AN EXPERT

A PROPOSAL OF A METHODOLOGY FOR ANALYZING

THE CONCEPTUAL CHANGE FROM

A NOVICE TO AN EXPERT

Focus is on conceptual change Change in the structural changes in the knowledge as a novice becomes an expert

Change in the structural changes in the knowledge as a novice becomes an expert

an assumption We make the assumption that meaning of a node comes from the relations it has with other nodes. If meaning resides in the relations, and given the fact that there occurs a change in meaning during the course of cognitive development, it follows that the root of the change must lie in the relations.

We make the assumption that meaning of a node comes from the relations it has with other nodes.

If meaning resides in the relations,

and given the fact that there occurs a change in meaning during the course of cognitive development,

it follows that the root of the change must lie in the relations.

Our hypotheses We hypothesize that during the cognitive development conceptual change happens due to re-writing the names of relations, and not due to re-writing the names of nodes, the number of relation names used progressively decrease, the same relation names are consistently used eliminating ambiguity the number of relation names required for a formal representation in a given domain are not only finite but few. The lesser the relation names, the greater the formal character of the representation.

We hypothesize that during the cognitive development

conceptual change happens due to re-writing the names of relations, and not due to re-writing the names of nodes,

the number of relation names used progressively decrease,

the same relation names are consistently used eliminating ambiguity

the number of relation names required for a formal representation in a given domain are not only finite but few. The lesser the relation names, the greater the formal character of the representation.

So many tall claims, but where are the evidences? We are not attempting to provide a full empirical support in this paper, but we describe how a preliminary study was conducted, the nature of the analysis and how it can help to carry out a major study. The purpose of this paper therefore is to share our confidence in the strategy we are following, the details of the ongoing work, the methodology that we are following and some preliminary results. We welcome critical comments, falsifying cases, and possibly other methods of substantiating the above proposal.

We are not attempting to provide a full empirical support in this paper, but we describe how a preliminary study was conducted, the nature of the analysis and how it can help to carry out a major study. The purpose of this paper therefore is to share our confidence in the strategy we are following, the details of the ongoing work, the methodology that we are following and some preliminary results. We welcome critical comments, falsifying cases, and possibly other methods of substantiating the above proposal.

So how do we conduct this research? Many options We are not sure which one will work better for us We are currently looking analysizing the language used in text books at various stages Later we will collect maps from different sources and analyze them Lot more work remains to be done

Many options

We are not sure which one will work better for us

We are currently looking analysizing the language used in text books at various stages

Later we will collect maps from different sources and analyze them

Lot more work remains to be done

methodology Identify a proposition and collect the sentences from different sources Mark the linking phrase (relation name) and the concept names from each sentence Collect the linking phrases used by keeping the concept names constant.

Identify a proposition and collect the sentences from different sources

Mark the linking phrase (relation name) and the concept names from each sentence

Collect the linking phrases used by keeping the concept names constant.

 

 

 

 

Subtle distinctions Mixing spacial relations and parthood relations is very common among novices. But most experts exhibit a distinction For example, in 'DNA is present in chromatin' and 'Chromosomes contain DNA', we see that containment relation is used in place of composition. However, such instances are found very sparingly.

Parthood or Spatial Novice: parthood relation between cell and nucleus Experts: compartment (spacial relation) The distinction between component and compartment is not noticed among the novices.

Other examples

Doesn't concept names matter? They do. There is a significant increase in the concept names from novices to experts. However, there is no increase in the relation names. This point is the crucial aspect of the study: linking names do not increase, but actually decrease.

They do. There is a significant increase in the concept names from novices to experts.

However, there is no increase in the relation names.

This point is the crucial aspect of the study: linking names do not increase, but actually decrease.

Across domains Biology Chemistry Physics Mathematics Progressively the relation names also decrease.

Biology

Chemistry

Physics

Mathematics

Progressively the relation names also decrease.

Is it cross cultural? The most widely used relation names are used in all cultures. Therefore universal. Our ability to understand each other (and perhaps misunderstand each other) possibly lies here.

The most widely used relation names are used in all cultures.

Therefore universal.

Our ability to understand each other (and perhaps misunderstand each other) possibly lies here.

Epistemological implications Since relation names are wide spread and are essential for giving meaning to a concept, we consider relation names as the root of meaning. This notion of meaning is different from the dominant use theory of meaning (Wittgenstein) Or the positivist thoery of meaning

Since relation names are wide spread and are essential for giving meaning to a concept, we consider relation names as the root of meaning.

This notion of meaning is different from the dominant use theory of meaning (Wittgenstein)

Or the positivist thoery of meaning

cognitive psychology, history and philosophy of science conceptual change happens due to re-writing the names of relations, and not due to re-writing the names of nodes, the number of relation names used progressively decrease, the same relation names are consistently used eliminating ambiguity the number of relation names required for a formal representation in a given domain are not only finite but few. The lesser the relation names, the greater the formal character of the representation.

conceptual change happens due to re-writing the names of relations, and not due to re-writing the names of nodes,

the number of relation names used progressively decrease,

the same relation names are consistently used eliminating ambiguity

the number of relation names required for a formal representation in a given domain are not only finite but few. The lesser the relation names, the greater the formal character of the representation.

In this preliminary study Our sample size of students is OK (32) But for experts representation we did not interview or elicit propositions from them directly. We used text books as representative cases in place of experts. Next time we will expand the data from experts And also conduct a longitudinal study

Our sample size of students is OK (32)

But for experts representation we did not interview or elicit propositions from them directly.

We used text books as representative cases in place of experts.

Next time we will expand the data from experts

And also conduct a longitudinal study

To fill the gaps To fill the gaps in our study we need to include the groups of students, say of higher secondary, under graduate and graduate level. (a longitudinal study) We expect that from higher secondary to the graduate level the rewriting of linking phrases happens. We wish to undertake this study very soon.

To fill the gaps in our study we need to include the groups of students, say of higher secondary, under graduate and graduate level. (a longitudinal study)

We expect that from higher secondary to the graduate level the rewriting of linking phrases happens.

We wish to undertake this study very soon.

Time consuming and simple method This kind of analysis though is time consuming, the method is simple and can be effectively carried out. W e also think that the method can be used for studying conceptual change in all developmental studies, whether the development is ontogenic or phylogenic. By holding the relation names as constant, we can probe the kind of nodes that were used correctly and incorrectly by the agents, and similarly, by holding the nodes constant we can take notice of the kinds of relation names used.

This kind of analysis though is time consuming, the method is simple and can be effectively carried out. W e also think that the method can be used for studying conceptual change in all developmental studies, whether the development is ontogenic or phylogenic. By holding the relation names as constant, we can probe the kind of nodes that were used correctly and incorrectly by the agents, and similarly, by holding the nodes constant we can take notice of the kinds of relation names used.

Acknowledgements Joel Mintzes Anonymous Referees Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education, TIFR, Mumbai, for partially funding this trip.

Joel Mintzes

Anonymous Referees

Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education, TIFR, Mumbai, for partially funding this trip.

Thank you! You can reach me at nagarjun @ gnowledge.org and reach Meena at meena @ hbcse.tifr.res.in

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