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The use of criteria in argumentation and the construction of environmental concepts: a university case study

[journal article]

Uskola, Araitz; Maguregi, Gurutze; Jiménez-Aleixandre, Maria-Pilar

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Please use the following Persistent Identifier (PID) to cite this document:http://nbn-resolving.de/urn:nbn:de:0168-ssoar-222463

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Abstract We have analysed the processes of argumentation of three university student groups (A: six students, C: five students and J: seven students) while making a decision about an environmental problem (selection of a heating system). The discussions took place in three 1 ½ hour sessions that were audio taped and transcribed. For the analysis of the oral discussions, on the one hand, we have taken into account some of the dimensions characterising the quality of this decision-making process, including the number and variety of criteria utilised, whether criteria which did not favour the selected option were considered and whether priorities were established among criteria, and, on the other hand, the use of environmental concepts such as renewable and sustainability as well as the meanings that were constructed for both concepts. We have determined that the students in this study proposed and utilised, both explicitly and implicitly, a high number and great variety of criteria to support their choices, although they were rarely able to consider contradictory evidence; that is, those that demonstrated disadvantages of the option selected. In terms of the construction of knowledge, we observed that in some groups the proposed task favoured the construction of a concept of sustainability that took the future into consideration and which was utilised as the most important justification in their selection. In terms of the concept of renewable, we found that they did not only relate depletion of resources to economic consequences. We discuss the implications for the educational competence development.
Keywords argumentation
Classification Curriculum, Teaching, Didactics
Free Keywords conceptual development; environmental education
Document language English
Publication Year 2010
Page/Pages p. 2311-2333
Journal International Journal of Science Education, 32 (2010) 17
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09500690903501736
Status Postprint; peer reviewed
Licence PEER Licence Agreement (applicable only to documents from PEER project)