Differences in the problem solving of stronger and weaker novices in physics: Knowledge, strategies, or knowledge structure?
Article first published online: 18 AUG 2006
Copyright © 1993 Wiley Periodicals, Inc., A Wiley Company
Journal of Research in Science Teaching
Volume 30, Issue 5, pages 459–470, May 1993
How to Cite
Zajchowski, R. and Martin, J. (1993), Differences in the problem solving of stronger and weaker novices in physics: Knowledge, strategies, or knowledge structure?. J. Res. Sci. Teach., 30: 459–470. doi: 10.1002/tea.3660300505
- Issue published online: 18 AUG 2006
- Article first published online: 18 AUG 2006
- Manuscript Accepted: 6 DEC 1991
This study investigates the extent to which differences in the problem-solving performance of stronger and weaker novices in physics arise from: (a) differences in amount of domain knowledge, (b) differences in how domain knowledge is organized, and (c) differences in the strategic application of domain knowledge. Ten first-year university physics students attempted to solve one easy and one difficult problem involving Newton's second law. Clear differences in the protocols of stronger and weaker students for the difficult problem, combined with successful performance by all students on the easy problem, were interpreted as evidence for differences in the organization of relevant knowledge held by more versus less successful first-year physics students. Some differences in procedural knowledge were also observed, but all students used the working forward strategy that had been presented to them in lectures.