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Title: A study of student understanding of electric and magnetic fields and related phenomena
Contributor(s): Guth, John Ern-Way (author); Pegg, John  (supervisor); Daniels, David (supervisor)
Conferred Date: 1997
Copyright Date: 1996
Open Access: Yes
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Abstract: This thesis is concerned with students' understandings of issues related to electric and magnetic fields. There was interest both in students' ability to represent these fields, and the repercussions of this for their understandings of related phenomena. In order to investigate these themes, data were collected from tertiary students of physics. The data set for the study was drawn from a first-year university physics class with an enrolment of 60 students. The course and its tests had a strong emphasis on the quantitative use of equations. Students' responses to these coursework assessment tests formed part of the raw data for the current study. A written test developed by the researcher was also administered to the students, and followed up by a series of three interviews. The first of these interviews was concerned with students' answers to the written test, and the remaining two introduced new questions to the students. All interviews were fully transcribed for analysis. Analysis of the results involved finding natural groupings in the understandings displayed by students, in their responses to the various questions. This methodology can be described as broadly phenomenographic. While these groupings are of interest in themselves, and show important themes in students' understandings, further analysis of the groupings was undertaken. This analysis studied the structure underlying the students' responses, in terms of units of reasoning and level of abstraction used. The SOLO (Structure of the Observed Learning Outcome) Taxonomy was used for this analysis of the structure underlying the reasoning in the students' responses. ... The work performed in this thesis has led to a number of outcomes. There are details of students' conceptions of electric and magnetic fields, and of related phenomena. But there is also a statement of the generalised level of abstraction behind these understandings, which serves as an additional guide for those working in this area.
Publication Type: Thesis Doctoral
Rights Statement: Copyright 1996 - John Ern-Way Guth
HERDC Category Description: T2 Thesis - Doctorate by Research
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Appears in Collections:The National Centre of Science, Information and Communication Technology, and Mathematics Education for Rural and Regional Australia (SiMERR)
Thesis Doctoral

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