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Knowledge and memory: a study of what students remember about chemistry experiments

Knowledge and memory: a study of what students remember about chemistry experiments
Knowledge and memory: a study of what students remember about chemistry experiments
The way we recall information is dependent upon the knowledge in our memories and the conditions under which we recall the information. In this study the knowledge that undergraduate students have about chemistry experiments and the impact that changing how they were asked to recall the experiment is examined. The motivation is to understand what students remember about experiments and whether the use of questionnaires improves or impairs the quality of information they capture. The students were second-year undergraduates taking part in a chemistry summer school. They were asked a set of questions before they completed the experiment to elicit their existing knowledge and then asked to produce a write-up of the experiment under two different conditions: using a blank piece of paper or a structured questionnaire. The data from the study was analyzed to determine what about chemistry experiments was more easily remembered, and whether significant differences existed in the write-ups produced under the different conditions. The results indicate that certain types of information about experiments are more prominent in the memories of the students and using a questionnaire to write up the experiment makes significant changes to the information that the students recalled. These differences have both positive and negative effects, with more background knowledge recorded using the questionnaire, but fewer details of the personal experience. Understanding what information about experiments students are more likely to remember and the effects of recall conditions enable questionnaires for recording experiments to be designed to support learning. For example cues can be provided for the parts of the experiment that the students are less likely to remember to include. Also care needs to be taken when using a formal structure to ensure that important personal experiences of their observations, actions, and reasoning are not omitted from their experiment records.
Willoughby, Cerys
118d1e49-2c54-4f4d-bd49-fe3a192df9d7
Frey, Jeremy G.
ba60c559-c4af-44f1-87e6-ce69819bf23f
Willoughby, Cerys
118d1e49-2c54-4f4d-bd49-fe3a192df9d7
Frey, Jeremy G.
ba60c559-c4af-44f1-87e6-ce69819bf23f

Willoughby, Cerys and Frey, Jeremy G. (2014) Knowledge and memory: a study of what students remember about chemistry experiments. 247th ACS National Meeting & Exposition, Dallas, United States. 16 - 20 Mar 2014.

Record type: Conference or Workshop Item (Other)

Abstract

The way we recall information is dependent upon the knowledge in our memories and the conditions under which we recall the information. In this study the knowledge that undergraduate students have about chemistry experiments and the impact that changing how they were asked to recall the experiment is examined. The motivation is to understand what students remember about experiments and whether the use of questionnaires improves or impairs the quality of information they capture. The students were second-year undergraduates taking part in a chemistry summer school. They were asked a set of questions before they completed the experiment to elicit their existing knowledge and then asked to produce a write-up of the experiment under two different conditions: using a blank piece of paper or a structured questionnaire. The data from the study was analyzed to determine what about chemistry experiments was more easily remembered, and whether significant differences existed in the write-ups produced under the different conditions. The results indicate that certain types of information about experiments are more prominent in the memories of the students and using a questionnaire to write up the experiment makes significant changes to the information that the students recalled. These differences have both positive and negative effects, with more background knowledge recorded using the questionnaire, but fewer details of the personal experience. Understanding what information about experiments students are more likely to remember and the effects of recall conditions enable questionnaires for recording experiments to be designed to support learning. For example cues can be provided for the parts of the experiment that the students are less likely to remember to include. Also care needs to be taken when using a formal structure to ensure that important personal experiences of their observations, actions, and reasoning are not omitted from their experiment records.

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More information

e-pub ahead of print date: 18 March 2014
Venue - Dates: 247th ACS National Meeting & Exposition, Dallas, United States, 2014-03-16 - 2014-03-20
Organisations: Chemistry

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 367211
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/367211
PURE UUID: c2c3a412-8857-4de3-8772-7d20bf311a5a
ORCID for Jeremy G. Frey: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-0842-4302

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 24 Jul 2014 13:49
Last modified: 18 Feb 2021 16:33

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Contributors

Author: Cerys Willoughby
Author: Jeremy G. Frey ORCID iD

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