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Undergraduate Chemistry Students' Conceptions of Energy: An Interview Study.

Vincent, Alan. (1987) Undergraduate Chemistry Students' Conceptions of Energy: An Interview Study. Doctoral thesis, University of Surrey (United Kingdom)..

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This thesis is a study of chemistry undergraduates' understanding of science concepts related to energy. Concepts such as 'ketone', 'acid' or 'force' are often regarded as a means of classifying examples under a particular heading. Much research has, therefore, been directed towards finding the extent to which students can correctly classify instances and non-instances of a particular concept. This approach, however, is unhelpful when applied to concepts like evaporation or heat which are descriptive of phenomena; it also fails to test concepts like the mole used in problem solving. In the first part of the thesis science concepts are analysed as constructs produced by the science community to fulfil various purposes. It is suggested that the purposes can be summarised as: a. Classification; b. Description of' phenomena; c. Description of relationships; d. Problem solving. The teaching and research implications of this analysis are considered and it is found to be helpful in both areas. A review of the literature on alternative frameworks and misconceptions shows that the former are generalised statements of the views developed by individuals to explain their experience or observations. Misconceptions, on the other hand, involve a logical flaw in linking two areas of knowledge. An interview schedule was designed to probe students' views of the concept of energy and the transcripts were analysed to reveal a number of misconceptions as well as the alternative frameworks discovered in earlier work. A second round of interviews revealed that the students' concept of energy was, in fact, quite close to the accepted 'science' view but that much of the language used to express alternative frameworks was analogy. A number of distinct misconceptions, however, were present, particularly concerning the energy associated with chemical bonds. Some of these misconceptions could have been encouraged by the commonly-expressed functional framework of energy. Educational implications of the work are discussed.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Divisions : Theses
Authors :
Vincent, Alan.
Date : 1987
Contributors :
Additional Information : Thesis (M.Phil.)--University of Surrey (United Kingdom), 1987.
Depositing User : EPrints Services
Date Deposited : 22 Jun 2018 15:17
Last Modified : 06 Nov 2018 16:54

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