Jump to main content
Jump to site search
PLANNED MAINTENANCE Close the message box

Scheduled maintenance work on Tuesday 19th September 2017 from 8.00am to 4.00pm (BST).

During this time our website performance may be temporarily affected. If you have any questions please use the feedback button available under our menu button. We apologise for any inconvenience this might cause and thank you for your patience.

Issue 3, 2012
Previous Article Next Article

Student misconceptions in writing balanced equations for dissolving ionic compounds in water

Author affiliations


The goal of this study was to identify student misconceptions and difficulties in writing symbolic-level balanced equations for dissolving ionic compounds in water. A sample of 105 college students were asked to provide balanced equations for dissolving four ionic compounds in water. Another 37 college students participated in semi-structured interviews where they provided balanced equations for dissolving the same four ionic compounds in water and were asked to explore their thought processes at the particulate level associated with writing these equations. Misconceptions identified from these data included (i) the notion that water reacts with the ionic salts through double displacement to form a metal oxide and an acid; (ii) the notion that ionic salts dissolve as neutral atoms or molecules in water; (iii) confusion regarding the proper use of subscripts and coefficients; and (iv) the notion that polyatomic ions will dissociate into smaller particles in water. This study also describes the possible sources of these misconceptions.

Back to tab navigation

Publication details

The article was received on 02 Dec 2011, accepted on 03 Feb 2012 and first published on 23 Feb 2012

Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C2RP00015F
Citation: Chem. Educ. Res. Pract., 2012,13, 186-194
  •   Request permissions

    Student misconceptions in writing balanced equations for dissolving ionic compounds in water

    B. M. Naah and M. J. Sanger, Chem. Educ. Res. Pract., 2012, 13, 186
    DOI: 10.1039/C2RP00015F

Search articles by author