Scientific Program > Topic 6 > Session 6A >
Presentation 6A1. Creating Cognitive Conflict in a Controlled Research Setting

Jane M. Watson (Australia)


Presentation Abstract
In an ideal classroom it is possible to imagine student debate on concepts, hypotheses, and conclusions occurring spontaneously, with several levels of contribution being made and considered by members of the class. The problem encountered by researchers who would like to study students' reactions to cognitive conflict created in such situations is that ideal classrooms do not exist and even if they did it would be impossible to repeat conditions over a number of trials. This paper will report on research that created a controlled environment for the interview of individual students allowing for the provision of cognitive conflict from other students. The interview environment included a laptop computer containing protocol questions on various parts of the chance and data curriculum. At various points in the protocol it was possible to show the student digitised video extracts of another student's response to the same question. Extracts were chosen to contrast with the response given by the interviewee. The same set of extracts was available for all interviews and hence whenever a comment of a particular level was required for a particular question, the same prompt was used for all interviews. Hence a degree of control was possible that is not available in classroom situations. All interviews were videotaped and subsequently linked via a spreadsheet to typed transcripts and the prompts, using hypertext links. This procedure was a valuable aid to analysis of the effect of cognitive conflict on student understanding. The presentation will provide illustrations of how the research procedure operated during both the interview and the analysis stages. Examples will be chosen from problem situations based on average, sampling, chance or comparing groups.


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