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Physical Review Special Topics - Physics Education Research
written by Craig Ogilvie
Most students struggle when faced with complex and open-ended tasks because the strategies taught in schools and universities simply require ?nding and applying the correct formulae or strategy to answer wellstructured, algorithmic problems. For students to develop their ability to solve ill-structured problems, they must ?rst believe that standardized procedural approaches will not always be suf?cient for solving engineering and scienti?c challenges. In this paper we document the range of beliefs university students have about problem solving. Students enrolled in a physics course submitted a written re?ection both at the start and the end of the course on how they solve problems. We coded approximately 500 of these re?ections for the presence of different problem-solving approaches. At the start of the semester over 50% of the students mention in written re?ections that they use Rolodex equation matching, i.e., they solve problems by searching for equations that have the same variables as the knowns and unknowns. We then describe the extent to which students' beliefs about physics problem solving change by the end of a semester-long course that emphasized problem solving via context-rich, multifaceted problems. The frequency of strategies such as the Rolodex method reduces only slightly by the end of the semester. However, there is an increase in students describing more expansive strategies within their re?ections. In particular there is a large increase in describing the use of diagrams, and thinking about concepts ?rst.
Subjects ADS Supplements Resource Types
Education - Applied Research
- Active Learning
= Problem Solving
Education - Basic Research
- Problem Solving
= Representational Use
- Student Characteristics
= Skills
- Reference Material
= Research study
PER-Central Type Intended Users Ratings
- PER Literature
- Researchers
- Educators
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Free access
License:
This material is released under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license.
Rights Holder:
The American Physical Society
DOI:
10.1103/PhysRevSTPER.5.020102
PACS:
01.40.-d
Keywords:
Context Rich Problems, Formulae matching, Rolodex method, multifaceted problems
Record Creator:
Metadata instance created February 16, 2010 by Lyle Barbato
Record Updated:
May 15, 2012 by Vince Kuo
Last Update
when Cataloged:
August 28, 2009
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AIP Format
C. Ogilvie, Phys. Rev. ST Phys. Educ. Res. 5 (2), 020102 (2009), WWW Document, (http://dx.doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevSTPER.5.020102).
AJP/PRST-PER
C. Ogilvie, Changes in students’ problem-solving strategies in a course that includes context-rich, multifaceted problems, Phys. Rev. ST Phys. Educ. Res. 5 (2), 020102 (2009), <http://dx.doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevSTPER.5.020102>.
APA Format
Ogilvie, C. (2009, August 28). Changes in students’ problem-solving strategies in a course that includes context-rich, multifaceted problems. Phys. Rev. ST Phys. Educ. Res., 5(2), 020102. Retrieved December 22, 2014, from http://dx.doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevSTPER.5.020102
Chicago Format
Ogilvie, Craig. "Changes in students’ problem-solving strategies in a course that includes context-rich, multifaceted problems." Phys. Rev. ST Phys. Educ. Res. 5, no. 2, (August 28, 2009): 020102, http://dx.doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevSTPER.5.020102 (accessed 22 December 2014).
MLA Format
Ogilvie, Craig. "Changes in students’ problem-solving strategies in a course that includes context-rich, multifaceted problems." Phys. Rev. ST Phys. Educ. Res. 5.2 (2009): 020102. 22 Dec. 2014 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevSTPER.5.020102>.
BibTeX Export Format
@article{ Author = "Craig Ogilvie", Title = {Changes in students’ problem-solving strategies in a course that includes context-rich, multifaceted problems}, Journal = {Phys. Rev. ST Phys. Educ. Res.}, Volume = {5}, Number = {2}, Pages = {020102}, Month = {August}, Year = {2009} }
Refer Export Format

%A Craig Ogilvie
%T Changes in students' problem-solving strategies in a course that includes context-rich, multifaceted problems
%J Phys. Rev. ST Phys. Educ. Res.
%V 5
%N 2
%D August 28, 2009
%P 020102
%U http://dx.doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevSTPER.5.020102
%O application/pdf

EndNote Export Format

%0 Journal Article
%A Ogilvie, Craig
%D August 28, 2009
%T Changes in students' problem-solving strategies in a course that includes context-rich, multifaceted problems
%J Phys. Rev. ST Phys. Educ. Res.
%V 5
%N 2
%P 020102
%8 August 28, 2009
%U http://dx.doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevSTPER.5.020102


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