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Physical Review Physics Education Research
written by Emily M. Smith, Martin M. Stein, and N. G. Holmes
Many instructional physics labs are shifting to teach experimentation skills, rather than to demonstrate or confirm canonical physics phenomena. Our previous work found that many students engage in questionable research practices in attempts to confirm the canonical physics phenomena, even when confirmation is explicitly not the goal of the lab. This exploratory study aimed to answer three research questions: (RQ1) What are students' expectations about the purpose of labs when they enter introductory physics?, (RQ2) How do their prior experiences shape those expectations?, (RQ3) In what ways do those expectations relate to their engagement in questionable research practices? Through open-response surveys, we found that students overwhelmingly expressed confirmatory beliefs about the purpose of labs. Through interviews, we found that students' prior lab experiences were also overwhelmingly confirmatory, despite varying degrees of structure. We then used video of individual groups to explore the ways in which questionable research practices manifest through confirmatory expectations. We confirm previous work that students' confirmatory expectations can lead them to engage in questionable research practices, but find that these behaviors occur despite instructional messaging about an alternative purpose. Our analyses also suggest that engagement in questionable research practices is more frequent than the previous results indicated through analysis of submitted lab notes. These results further illuminate issues with traditional labs, but suggest that the confirmatory goals, perhaps more so than high structure, are problematic.
Physical Review Physics Education Research: Volume 16, Issue 1, Pages 010113
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Access Rights:
Free access
License:
This material is released under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license.
Rights Holder:
American Physical Society
DOI:
10.1103/PhysRevPhysEducRes.16.010113
Keywords:
confirmation bias, confirmation expectation, experimentation skills, physics labs, scientific experimentation, undergraduate experimentation, undergraduate lab courses
Record Creator:
Metadata instance created June 15, 2020 by Lyle Barbato
Record Updated:
January 17, 2023 by Caroline Hall
Last Update
when Cataloged:
March 25, 2020
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AIP Format
E. Smith, M. Stein, and N. Holmes, , Phys. Rev. Phys. Educ. Res. 16 (1), 010113 (2020), WWW Document, (https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevPhysEducRes.16.010113).
AJP/PRST-PER
E. Smith, M. Stein, and N. Holmes, How expectations of confirmation influence students’ experimentation decisions in introductory labs, Phys. Rev. Phys. Educ. Res. 16 (1), 010113 (2020), <https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevPhysEducRes.16.010113>.
APA Format
Smith, E., Stein, M., & Holmes, N. (2020, March 25). How expectations of confirmation influence students’ experimentation decisions in introductory labs. Phys. Rev. Phys. Educ. Res., 16(1), 010113. Retrieved February 8, 2023, from https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevPhysEducRes.16.010113
Chicago Format
Smith, E, M. Stein, and N. Holmes. "How expectations of confirmation influence students’ experimentation decisions in introductory labs." Phys. Rev. Phys. Educ. Res. 16, no. 1, (March 25, 2020): 010113, https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevPhysEducRes.16.010113 (accessed 8 February 2023).
MLA Format
Smith, Emily M., Martin M. Stein, and Natasha G. Holmes. "How expectations of confirmation influence students’ experimentation decisions in introductory labs." Phys. Rev. Phys. Educ. Res. 16.1 (2020): 010113. 8 Feb. 2023 <https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevPhysEducRes.16.010113>.
BibTeX Export Format
@article{ Author = "Emily M. Smith and Martin M. Stein and Natasha G. Holmes", Title = {How expectations of confirmation influence students’ experimentation decisions in introductory labs}, Journal = {Phys. Rev. Phys. Educ. Res.}, Volume = {16}, Number = {1}, Pages = {010113}, Month = {March}, Year = {2020} }
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%A Emily M. Smith %A Martin M. Stein %A Natasha G. Holmes %T How expectations of confirmation influence students' experimentation decisions in introductory labs %J Phys. Rev. Phys. Educ. Res. %V 16 %N 1 %D March 25, 2020 %P 010113 %U https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevPhysEducRes.16.010113 %O application/pdf

EndNote Export Format

%0 Journal Article %A Smith, Emily M. %A Stein, Martin M. %A Holmes, Natasha G. %D March 25, 2020 %T How expectations of confirmation influence students' experimentation decisions in introductory labs %J Phys. Rev. Phys. Educ. Res. %V 16 %N 1 %P 010113 %8 March 25, 2020 %U https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevPhysEducRes.16.010113


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