Key challenges and future directions for educational research on scientific argumentation

Joseph Henderson, Katherine L. McNeill, María González-Howard, Kevin Close, Mat Evans

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations


At the 2015 NARST: A Worldwide Organization for Improving Science Teaching and Learning Through Research Annual International Conference, a group of scholars held an extended pre-conference workshop to discuss key challenges and future directions faced by argumentation researchers around the world. This wide-ranging group of facilitators and participants represented varying perspectives and experiences with argumentation research. Learning artifacts from the workshop were collected and analyzed utilizing multiple qualitative coding techniques. Analysis of these artifacts revealed five major themes that emerged from the NARST workshop describing this group of scholars’ views on current issues and potential directions for the field of argumentation research. These themes center on: (i) establishing a classroom culture that values argumentation; (ii) how differing theoretical frameworks challenge how researchers communicate findings; (iii) the challenge of assessing various aspects of scientific argumentation in a valid and reliable fashion; (iv) pedagogical challenges in supporting student discourse and social collaboration; and (v) challenges concerning the professional development of teachers. Each of these themes is described using direct quotes from the workshop artifacts, and implications for future research in argumentation are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5-18
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Research in Science Teaching
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018


  • critical thinking
  • epistemology
  • language of science and classrooms
  • professional development
  • standards

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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