Quality of argumentation by seventh-graders in local socioscientific issues

Capkinoglu E., Yılmaz S., Leblebicioğlu G.

JOURNAL OF RESEARCH IN SCIENCE TEACHING, vol.57, no.6, pp.827-855, 2020 (SSCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 57 Issue: 6
  • Publication Date: 2020
  • Doi Number: 10.1002/tea.21609
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus, ASSIA, IBZ Online, Applied Science & Technology Source, Compendex, EBSCO Education Source, Education Abstracts, Educational research abstracts (ERA), ERIC (Education Resources Information Center), Psycinfo
  • Page Numbers: pp.827-855
  • Hacettepe University Affiliated: Yes


The study's purpose was to evaluate the quality of argumentations presented by students in relation to local socioscientific issues (SSIs). The participants, 36 seventh-grade students from state schools, were divided into three learning groups-outdoor group, newspaper group, and presentation group. Five local environment-related SSIs were selected: an artificial lake, chicken coops, leather tanneries, base stations, and hydroelectric power plants (HPPs). Different data sources were provided to each group pertaining to their SSIs. The outdoor group learned through field trips, the newspaper group acquired information through newspapers, and the presentation group learned via presentations. Each group gathered data from their unique learning sources, which then formed the basis of their arguments. After a pilot study, each group experienced the same argumentation practice within smaller groups. The recorded discussions were transcribed, and the qualities of 582 argumentation episodes chronicled over a period of 10 weeks were evaluated using an analytical assessment tool. It emerged that the quality of argumentations of each group varied by the data sources and the contexts of the SSIs. While the newspaper group displayed the best performance in 4 out of 5 issues, the outdoor group had the lowest performance overall. In terms of generating high-quality argumentations about the artificial lake, chicken coops, and base stations, the newspaper group ranked top, followed by the presentation group, and then the outdoor group. HPPs proved to be the most challenging context for students across all groups. The study sums up with discussions of the differences between the quality of argumentations of the various groups and the implications of the study's conclusions.