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The role of misconceptions in the development of a reliable geological knowledge. A project on alternative ideas of Earth Science Bachelor students.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Earth Sciences, Department of Earth Sciences.
2016 (English)In: Bulletin of The Geological Society of Finland: Special volume, Abstracts of The 32nd Nordic Geological Winter Meeting / [ed] Stratos Staboulis, Toni Karvonen & Antti Kujanpää, Helsinki, 2016, 143- p.Conference paper, Abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

The pre-existing knowledge that Earth Science Bachelor students have when they are starting their University studies, is influential on the scientific knowledge that they will have built when they graduate. This project examines the alternative ideas that Uppsala University’s first, second and third year Earth Science Bachelor students have on basic geological topics, and if it influences the knowledge that they develop. These topics include; the definition of density, Earth’s magnetic and gravity field, heat sources inside the Earth, location and movement of tectonic plates, volcanic and earthquake’s distribution on surface, isostasy, weathering and erosion, earth’s past and future, rock formation and the relevant age of continental and oceanic rocks. In order to process this, students’ alternative ideas were assessed with a 20-item multiple choice questionnaire, which was formed online and delivered to all the Earth Science bachelor students of Uppsala University, at the end of the academic year (2014-2015). The questions were selected from the Geoscience Concept Inventory (GCI) developed by Libarkin & Anderson, 2006. The answers of the questionnaire were statistically analyzed with SPSS software and students’ scores were calculated. One way ANOVA was performed in order to determine if there is a statistically significant difference between students’ scores and the year of studies. The expected outcome was that third year students would have higher GCI scores/level of conceptual understanding, compared to the first and second year students, and that first year students would have the lowest. The results revealed the presence of alternative ideas to all of the students, and that even that the year of studies is a factor that affects the GCI scores, students’ final scores, are relatively low. The Earth science knowledge is not acquired by the accumulation of relevant information through the years of studies, but the existence of alternative ideas imply a resistance to learning or an obstacle in learning science. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Helsinki, 2016. 143- p.
, Bulletin of The Geological Society of Finland
Keyword [en]
geosceince, misconceptions, geological knowledge
National Category
Other Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
Research subject
Earth Science with specialization in Quaternary Geology; Curriculum Studies
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-289029OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-289029DiVA: diva2:924600
The 32nd Nordic Geological Winter Meeting, University of Helsinki
Available from: 2016-04-28 Created: 2016-04-28 Last updated: 2016-04-28

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