Jump to main content
Jump to site search
Access to RSC content Close the message box

Continue to access RSC content when you are not at your institution. Follow our step-by-step guide.


Issue 3, 2019
Previous Article Next Article

Constraints on organic chemistry students’ reasoning during IR and 1H NMR spectral interpretation

Author affiliations

Abstract

Promoting students’ ability to engage in discipline-specific practices is a central goal of chemistry education. Yet if instruction is to meaningfully foster such ability, we must first understand students’ reasoning during these practices. By characterizing constraints on chemistry students’ reasoning, we can design instruction that targets this constrained reasoning and ultimately promotes more sophisticated ways of thinking. For this study, we investigated reasoning used by 18 organic chemistry students at a large university in the United States as they evaluated the success of chemical syntheses through IR and 1H NMR spectral interpretation, a common task of practicing chemists. Students completed a series of interpretation tasks while having their eye movements tracked and then participated in semi-structured, cued retrospective think-aloud (RTA) interviews about their reasoning during spectral interpretation. RTA interviews were analyzed qualitatively to characterize invalid chemical assumptions and heuristic reasoning strategies used by participants, both of which science education literature identifies as fundamental constraints to learning. The most problematic assumptions and heuristics, i.e., those used more frequently by unsuccessful participants, were then identified through statistical analysis. Findings suggest that the most problematic constraints on students’ reasoning during spectral interpretation constitute a combination of particular invalid chemical assumptions and heuristic reasoning strategies.

Back to tab navigation

Article information


Submitted
30 Jan 2019
Accepted
28 Mar 2019
First published
05 Apr 2019

Chem. Educ. Res. Pract., 2019,20, 522-541
Article type
Paper

Constraints on organic chemistry students’ reasoning during IR and 1H NMR spectral interpretation

M. C. Connor, S. A. Finkenstaedt-Quinn and G. V. Shultz, Chem. Educ. Res. Pract., 2019, 20, 522
DOI: 10.1039/C9RP00033J

Social activity

Search articles by author

Spotlight

Advertisements