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written by Timothy L. McCaskey
In this dissertation, I perform and compare three different studies of introductory physics students' epistemological views – their views about the nature of knowledge and how it is learned. Physics education research (PER) shows that epistemological views affect how students learn, so they are important to understand and diagnose. The first study uses a Likert-scale instrument, adapted from the Maryland Physics Expectation Survey, designed to assess to what extent students see physics knowledge as coherent (rather than piecemeal), conceptual (rather than just formulas), and constructed (rather than absorbed). Using this survey, I documented several results, including that (i) a large lecture class can produce favorable changes in students' epistemological views, at least in the context of the class, and (ii) teaching a rushed modern physics unit at the end of an introductory sequence can lead to negative epistemological effects. The second study uses the Force Concept Inventory with modified instructions: students indicated both the answer they think a scientist would give and the answer that makes the most sense to them personally. A "split" between these two answers shows that the student does not think she has reconciled her common sense with the formal physics concepts. This study showed that attention to reconciliation in a course allows students to see initially-counterintuitive ideas as making sense. Finally, I did a detailed study of one student by (i) watching video of her in tutorial, where she and three other students answered a structured series of conceptual and quantitative physics questions, (ii) formulating interviews based largely on what I observed in the video, and (iii) interviewing her while the tutorial was still fresh in her head. I repeated this cycle every week for a semester. I found that her tendency to focus on the multiple and ambiguous meanings of words like "force" hampered her ability to reconcile physics concepts with common sense.
University: University of Maryland
Academic Department:  Physics Education Research Group
Pages 426
Subjects Levels Resource Types
Education - Basic Research
- Student Characteristics
= Affect
General Physics
- Physics Education Research
- Lower Undergraduate
- Graduate/Professional
- Reference Material
= Thesis/Dissertation
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© 2009 Timothy L. McCaskey
Type:
Ph.D.
Keywords:
Epistemology, MPEX, Nature of Knowledge
Record Creator:
Metadata instance created May 30, 2010 by Lyle Barbato
Record Updated:
May 9, 2012 by Lyle Barbato
Last Update
when Cataloged:
August 6, 2009
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Record Link
AIP Format
T. McCaskey, Ph.D., University of Maryland, 2009, WWW Document, (http://www.physics.umd.edu/perg/dissertations/McCaskey/).
AJP/PRST-PER
T. McCaskey, Comparing and Contrasting Different Methods for Probing Student Epistemology and Epistemological Development in Introductory Physics, Ph.D., University of Maryland, 2009, <http://www.physics.umd.edu/perg/dissertations/McCaskey/>.
APA Format
McCaskey, T. (2009, August 6). Comparing and Contrasting Different Methods for Probing Student Epistemology and Epistemological Development in Introductory Physics (Ph.D., University of Maryland, 2009). Retrieved November 21, 2014, from http://www.physics.umd.edu/perg/dissertations/McCaskey/
Chicago Format
McCaskey, Timothy. "Comparing and Contrasting Different Methods for Probing Student Epistemology and Epistemological Development in Introductory Physics." Ph.D., University of Maryland, 2009. http://www.physics.umd.edu/perg/dissertations/McCaskey/ (accessed 21 November 2014).
MLA Format
McCaskey, Timothy. "Comparing and Contrasting Different Methods for Probing Student Epistemology and Epistemological Development in Introductory Physics." Ph.D.. 6 Aug. 2009. University of Maryland, 2009. 21 Nov. 2014 <http://www.physics.umd.edu/perg/dissertations/McCaskey/>.
BibTeX Export Format
@phdthesis{ Author = "Timothy McCaskey", Title = {Comparing and Contrasting Different Methods for Probing Student Epistemology and Epistemological Development in Introductory Physics}, School = {University of Maryland}, Type = {Ph.D.}, Month = {August}, Year = {2009} }
Refer Export Format

%A Timothy McCaskey
%T Comparing and Contrasting Different Methods for Probing Student Epistemology and Epistemological Development in Introductory Physics
%R Ph.D.
%D August 6, 2009
%P 426
%I University of Maryland
%U http://www.physics.umd.edu/perg/dissertations/McCaskey/
%O Physics Education Research Group
%O application/pdf
%O Ph.D.

EndNote Export Format

%0 Thesis
%A McCaskey, Timothy
%D August 6, 2009
%T Comparing and Contrasting Different Methods for Probing Student Epistemology and Epistemological Development in Introductory Physics
%B Physics Education Research Group
%I University of Maryland
%P 426
%8 August 6, 2009
%9 Ph.D.
%U http://www.physics.umd.edu/perg/dissertations/McCaskey/


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The AIP Style presented is based on information from the AIP Style Manual.

The AJP/PRST-PER presented is based on the AIP Style with the addition of journal article titles and conference proceeding article titles.

The APA Style presented is based on information from APA Style.org: Electronic References.

The Chicago Style presented is based on information from Examples of Chicago-Style Documentation.

The MLA Style presented is based on information from the MLA FAQ.

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