Developing Expertise for
Welcome! This page provides perspectives, general practices and links to resources for helping students to develop expertise regarding experiments and correlational studies. Such inquiries enable students to Judge Ideas, which is a major phase of my constructivism-informed pedagogical framework. If you have comments, questions, suggestions, resource ideas, etc. about anything here, please write to me about them. Thanks.
Expts. vs. Studies.
|Scientists and engineers
commonly gather data in order to support their
cause-effect claims about the world. There are
two general ways of doing this; i.e., through experiments
studies. As shown at right, an
experiment is where the investigator forces the
independent (cause) variable to change and then
measures changes in the resulting dependent
variable. In a correlational study, the
investigator does not force changes in the
independent variable. S/he, instead, measures or
describes natural changes in the independent
variables and then measures changes in the
dependent variable. So, to investigate how
temperature (independent) may affect the rate of
decay of food, we can either purposely change
the temperature (e.g., 0, 5, 10 etc.) or measure
it as we come across it in the environment
(e.g., 31, 34, 11, etc.). Note that, because the
values of the independent variable (temp) are
collected in a random order in a study, they
have to be organized into an orderly sequence
when making a graph.
There are various approaches for helping students to develop skills they could use for conducting experiments and/or studies, but resources here are based on the constructivism-based approach at Skills Pedagogy. Accordingly, resources are provided for helping students to express their pre-instructional skills for science inquiry (on this page) and to develop skills for conducting experiments and studies (on two separate pages).