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Physical Review Special Topics - Physics Education Research
written by Apisit Tongchai, Manjula Devi Sharma, Ian D. Johnston, Kwan Arayathanitkul, and Chernchok Soankwan
We administered a multiple-choice conceptual survey in mechanical waves to 902 students ranging from high school to second year university. Analysis identified several conceptual models the students seemed to be using when answering survey questions. In this paper we investigate the strength with which students were committed to these conceptual models, as evidenced by the consistency with which they answered the questions. For this purpose we focus on the patterns of student responses to questions in a subtopic, wave propagation. This study has three main purposes: (1) to investigate the consistency of student conceptions, (2) to explore the relative usefulness of different analysis techniques, and (3) to determine what extra information a study of consistency can give about student understanding of basic concepts. We used two techniques: (1) categorizing and counting, and (2) model analysis, recently introduced into PER. Categorizing and counting is used in very diverse ways while model analysis has been employed only in prescriptive ways. Research studies have reported that students often use their conceptual models inconsistently when solving a series of questions that test the same idea. Our results support their conclusions. Moreover, our findings suggest that students with more experience in physics learning use the scientifically accepted models more consistently. Further, our findings show that model analysis can be used in more diverse ways, provides flexibility in analyzing multiple-choice questions, and provides more information about consistency of student conceptions. An unexpected finding is that studying waves in other contexts (for example, quantum mechanics or electromagnetism) leads to more consistent answers about mechanical waves. This suggests studying more abstract topics may solidify students' understanding of more concrete waves. While perhaps intuitive, we have not actually found direct empirical studies supporting this conjecture.
Subjects Levels Resource Types
Education - Basic Research
- Assessment
= Methods
- Cognition
- Problem Solving
= Representational Use
- Research Design & Methodology
= Evaluation
Oscillations & Waves
- Wave Motion
- Lower Undergraduate
- High School
- Graduate/Professional
- Reference Material
= Research study
PER-Central Type Intended Users Ratings
- PER Literature
- Researchers
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Format:
application/pdf
Access Rights:
Free access
License:
This material is released under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license.
Rights Holder:
American Physical Society
DOI:
10.1103/PhysRevSTPER.7.020101
PACS:
01.40.Fk
Keywords:
Conceptual Survey, Concpetual Models, Model Analysis
Record Cloner:
Metadata instance created April 30, 2012 by Lyle Barbato
Record Updated:
May 9, 2012 by Vince Kuo
Last Update
when Cataloged:
July 22, 2011
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Record Link
AIP Format
A. Tongchai, M. Sharma, I. Johnstone, K. Arayathanitkul, and C. Soankwan, Phys. Rev. ST Phys. Educ. Res. 7 (2), 020101 (2011), WWW Document, (http://dx.doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevSTPER.7.020101).
AJP/PRST-PER
A. Tongchai, M. Sharma, I. Johnstone, K. Arayathanitkul, and C. Soankwan, Consistency of students' conceptions of wave propagation: Findings from a conceptual survey in mechanical waves Phys. Rev. ST Phys. Educ. Res. 7 (2), 020101 (2011), <http://dx.doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevSTPER.7.020101>.
APA Format
Tongchai, A., Sharma, M., Johnstone, I., Arayathanitkul, K., & Soankwan, C. (2011, July 22). Consistency of students' conceptions of wave propagation: Findings from a conceptual survey in mechanical waves. Phys. Rev. ST Phys. Educ. Res., 7(2), 020101. Retrieved August 21, 2014, from http://dx.doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevSTPER.7.020101
Chicago Format
Tongchai, A, M. Sharma, I. Johnstone, K. Arayathanitkul, and C. Soankwan. "Consistency of students' conceptions of wave propagation: Findings from a conceptual survey in mechanical waves." Phys. Rev. ST Phys. Educ. Res. 7, no. 2, (July 22, 2011): 020101, http://dx.doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevSTPER.7.020101 (accessed 21 August 2014).
MLA Format
Tongchai, Apisit, Manjula Sharma, Ian Johnstone, Kwan Arayathanitkul, and Chernchok Soankwan. "Consistency of students' conceptions of wave propagation: Findings from a conceptual survey in mechanical waves." Phys. Rev. ST Phys. Educ. Res. 7.2 (2011): 020101. 21 Aug. 2014 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevSTPER.7.020101>.
BibTeX Export Format
@article{ Author = "Apisit Tongchai and Manjula Sharma and Ian Johnstone and Kwan Arayathanitkul and Chernchok Soankwan", Title = {Consistency of students' conceptions of wave propagation: Findings from a conceptual survey in mechanical waves}, Journal = {Phys. Rev. ST Phys. Educ. Res.}, Volume = {7}, Number = {2}, Pages = {020101}, Month = {July}, Year = {2011} }
Refer Export Format

%A Apisit Tongchai
%A Manjula Sharma
%A Ian Johnstone
%A Kwan Arayathanitkul
%A Chernchok Soankwan
%T Consistency of students' conceptions of wave propagation: Findings from a conceptual survey in mechanical waves
%J Phys. Rev. ST Phys. Educ. Res.
%V 7
%N 2
%D July 22, 2011
%P 020101
%U http://dx.doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevSTPER.7.020101
%O application/pdf

EndNote Export Format

%0 Journal Article
%A Tongchai, Apisit
%A Sharma, Manjula
%A Johnstone, Ian
%A Arayathanitkul, Kwan
%A Soankwan, Chernchok
%D July 22, 2011
%T Consistency of students' conceptions of wave propagation: Findings from a conceptual survey in mechanical waves
%J Phys. Rev. ST Phys. Educ. Res.
%V 7
%N 2
%P 020101
%8 July 22, 2011
%U http://dx.doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevSTPER.7.020101


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