Exploring Sources of Variation in Studies of Knowledge Structure Coherence: Comparing Force Meanings and Force Meaning Consistency Across Two Turkish Cities



Substantial variation has been observed across an international series of studies examining the consistency of students’ explanations of force and the most common meanings of force apparent in those explanations. On the surface, the variations among studies might be attributed to differences at the national level, but the studies also demonstrate differences among students from different schools in the United States. To what degree, therefore, can these variations be attributed to differences in educational systems as opposed to demographic differences or random variation? The current study compares student interviews across two cities in Turkey to provide insight into this question because Turkey, unlike the United States, has a strongly standardized national educational system. The results demonstrate no significant differences in students' consistency or meanings of force between cities. The results, however, demonstrate the expected differences across ages and majors, which suggest that the study has sufficient power. Thus, while differences have been observed between every city and country in the previous studies, and differences are observed in the current study in terms of grade level and academic majors, no differences are observed between the cities in Turkey. The implications of these findings are discussed in terms of ongoing conceptual change research.