This pilot study is an initial exploration of a theoretical rubric proposed to "describe the progress of students’ acquisition of scientific inquiry" (Halonen et al., 2003, p. 196), and an application of the utility of the rubric. Twenty-two undergraduates from a woman’s college participated in two sections of experimental psychology. Students consisted of sophomores, juniors, and seniors who completed general psychology courses. Consistent with the Halonen et al. (2003) model, results indicated that authentic research experiences in the first phase of the course were positively correlated with changes in scientific thinking in a second phase. In turn, experiences in the second phase were positively correlated with evidence of advanced thinking skills in a third phase. The findings suggest that much of the basic skill knowledge acquired in the beginning lectures, textbook readings, and writing instruction of the course enhanced students’ ability to apply that knowledge in later classes and the lab components. Further, the authentic learning experiences were instrumental in fine-tuning the skills learned from the lectures and textbooks readings. As a result, the current authors advocate the use of authentic experiences in teaching research methods, as a way for teachers to transform such classes in a beneficial and systematic way, in order to enhance acquisition of scientific thinking skills and to examine changes in scientific thinking as explicated in the Halonen et al. (2003) model.
Morse, G. S., Graves, D. F., Prout, K. K., & Safford, J. (2015). Assessing Students' Acquisition of Scientific Reasoning in an Experimental Psychology Class. Pedagogy and the Human Sciences, 5 (1), 41-59. Retrieved from http://scholarworks.merrimack.edu/phs/vol5/iss1/2