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Issue 4, 2013
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A study of approaches to solving open-ended problems in chemistry

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Abstract

This paper describes the outcomes of a qualitative investigation into the range of different approaches that students use to solve open-ended, context rich problems. The study involved a small cohort of students individually solving open-ended, context-rich problems using a think aloud protocol. The problems required the students to develop a strategy, to identify data required and to make estimations. The problems did not lead to a single correct answer but rather a range of acceptable answers. Analysis of the transcripts and recordings of the sessions resulted in a limited number of categories of approaches to solving the problems. Applications of these approaches to individual students showed that there were three different types of problem-solver, described here as novice, expert and transitional. The results provide insight that will help tutors change how they, and subsequent students, approach problem solving.

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Publication details

The article was received on 18 Feb 2013, accepted on 31 May 2013 and first published on 07 Jun 2013


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C3RP00028A
Citation: Chem. Educ. Res. Pract., 2013,14, 468-475
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    A study of approaches to solving open-ended problems in chemistry

    T. Overton, N. Potter and C. Leng, Chem. Educ. Res. Pract., 2013, 14, 468
    DOI: 10.1039/C3RP00028A

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