# Fysikstuderendes vanskeligheder ved anvendelse af nomologiske og kausale ræsonnementer: En kvantitativ undersøgelse af aktivering af ressourcer i fysisk problemløsning: Physics students’ difficulties applying nomological and causal reasoning: A quantitative study of resource activation in problem solving in physics

Emil Niels Heinrichsen

Studenteropgave: Speciale

## Abstrakt

The aim of this thesis is to investigate quantitatively the expectation that physics students have more difficulties applying nomological than causal explanations during problem solving in physics. In a nomological explanation a phenomenon is explained from a general law under the circumstances present, and the phenomenon is a manifestation of this general law. In a causal explanation a phenomenon is explained by the causes for the phenomenon under the circumstances present. Nomological explanations are essential in physics, because they say something about the phenomena in relation to the world view of laws of physics. The theoretical framework of this study is resource-based in the sense that it is designed to measure how a number (N = 90) of physics students with the necessary domain-specific knowledge accessible manage to activate nomological and causal resources in two specific problem-solving situations, respectively. The respondents are at the undergraduate level at the end of their first year. In general, the respondents showed difficulties in solving the problems. Hence it was necessary to examine how they managed to solve the problems’ constituent elements with nomological and causal solution frames, respectively. Here there was a tendency that the students displayed more difficulties applying nomological than causal reasoning. Målet med dette speciale er at undersøge kvantitativt en forventning om, at fysikstuderende har sværere ved at anvende nomologiske end kausale forklaringer i fysisk problemløsning. I en nomologisk forklaring forklares et fænomen ud fra en generel lov under nogle givne betingelser, hvorigennem det bliver vist, at fænomenet er en manifestation af denne lov i den givne situation. I en kausal forklaring forklares et fænomen ved, at man redegør for, at fænomenet er virkningen af de i den givne situation tilstedeværende årsager. Nomologiske forklaringer er essentielle i fysik, fordi de siger noget om fænomenerne i forhold til det fysiske verdensbilledes lovmæssigheder. Undersøgelsens teoretiske ramme er ressourcebaseret i den forstand, at den er designet til at måle, hvordan et antal (N = 90) fysikstuderende med den nødvendige domænespecifikke viden til rådighed formår at aktivere hhv. nomologiske og kausale ressourcer i to konkrete problemløsningssituationer. Respondenterne er på bachelorniveau i slutningen af deres første år. Generelt havde respondenterne svært ved at løse opgaverne, hvorved det var nødvendigt at undersøge, hvordan de klarede at løse opgavernes del-elementer med løsningsrum af hhv. kausal og nomologisk karakter. Her viste tendensen, at de studerende har sværere ved at anvende nomologiske end kausale ræsonnementer.

Uddannelser Fysik, (Bachelor/kandidatuddannelse) Kandidat Dansk 28 aug. 2014 Martin Niss

### Emneord

• Causal explanation
• Didaktik
• Forklaringstyper i fysik
• Science education
• Videnskabelig forklaring
• Aktivering af ressourcer
• Problem solving in Physics
• Why is Physics difficult?
• Naturvidenskabsdidaktik
• Activation of resources
• Fysisk Problemløsning
• Kausal forklaring
• Nomologisk forklaring
• Types of explanation in Physics
• Hvorfor er fysik svært?
• Scientific explanation
• Nomological explanation
• Transfer
• Physics education
• Fysikdidaktik
• Resource-based framework
• Transfer of learning