Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/2440/107963
Type: Journal article
Title: Thinking scientifically: understanding measurement and errors
Author: Alagumalai, S.
Citation: Teaching Science, 2015; 61(4):24-31
Publisher: Informit
Issue Date: 2015
ISSN: 0045-0855
Statement of
Responsibility: 
Sivakumar Alagumalai
Abstract: Thinking scientifically consists of systematic observation, experiment, measurement, testing and modification of research questions. In effect, science is about measurement and the understanding of causation. Measurement is an integral part of science and engineering, and has pertinent implications for the human sciences. No measurement is 100% accurate as all measurements have inherent errors and uncertainties which must be reduced by first its recognition, improvements in techniques and ideas, and then estimated to establish the validity of results. However, a growing body of evidence suggests that students design and perform experiments without clear understandings of measurement and errors. This disjuncture between levels of understanding and the ability to apply the formal aspects of data-error analysis is well reported in a number of studies. Reports indicate that students tend to use computational methods with little or no understanding of accuracy and precision when undertaking an experiment, in analysing experimental datasets and estimating the associated errors. An important area of research is what prospective science teachers know and understand about errors and uncertainties in science. A study was undertaken to examine the knowledge and understanding of measurement error possessed by science education students who have specialisations in biology, chemistry and/or physics. This article reports the pilot study undertaken to examine procedural understanding of measurement and errors. Implications for science education at the pre-service teacher education levels are discussed with recommendations for integrating thinking scientifically into associated curriculum and methodology courses.
Rights: Copyright of Teaching Science: The Journal of the Australian Science Teachers Association is the property of Australian Science Teachers Association and its content may not be copied or emailed to multiple sites or posted to a listserv without the copyright holder's express written permission. However, users may print, download, or email articles for individual use.
RMID: 0030048947
Published version: https://search.informit.com.au/documentSummary;dn=267437480694541;res=IELHSS
Appears in Collections:Education publications

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