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Keywords:

  • argumentation;
  • modeling-based teaching;
  • methodology of analysis;
  • chemistry teaching;
  • intermolecular interaction

Abstract

Previous research on argumentation in science education has focused on the understanding of relationships between modeling and argumentation (an important topic that only recently has been addressed in few empirical studies), and the methodological difficulties related to the analysis of arguments produced in classrooms. Our study is related to these two aspects. This paper introduces an instrument to analyze arguments produced by students involved in modeling-based lessons, and discusses the instrument in the light of the current literature. This instrument has been successfully used to analyze arguments in modeling-based contexts through focus on analysis of plausibility of arguments regarding a given idea or model, and a documentation of the main elements (justification, evidence) and goals of an argument (explanation and persuasion). It has some advantages over other proposals found in the literature, mainly the consideration of the notion of scientific curricular argument (that allows the analysis of arguments in the light of student's knowledge and evidence available in the modeling process), and the distinction between the types of justification (that are important for monitoring the understanding of abstract phenomena). Therefore, it supports the analysis of argumentative situations that occur in regular classes, showing how the quality of students' arguments varies when they participate in distinct activities. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Res Sci Teach 51: 192–218, 2014