A quantitative and qualitative investigation was conducted to determine the relative efficacy of textual and instructional manipulations on concept acquisition. One hundred four high‐school chemistry students were assigned randomly to one of four treatments ‐‐ a group that read the course textbook (nonrefutational text), a group that read refutational text (i.e., text which cited and refuted common misconceptions about the topic for study), a group that read nonrefutational text but experienced a prereading activation activity (designed to elicit cognitive dissonance) and a group that read refutational text following the same activation activity. Results of Analyses of Covariance revealed no significant differences between the groups on three measures designed to assess concept comprehension and learning. A purposive sample of eleven students was selected for a qualitative examination of their text‐processing strategies. Analyses of audio‐recorded interviews revealed insights into the process of conceptual change. An instructional model of the construct of prior knowledge is presented.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Linguistics and Language