Picture of two heads

Open Access research that challenges the mind...

The Strathprints institutional repository is a digital archive of University of Strathclyde research outputs. Strathprints provides access to thousands of Open Access research papers by University of Strathclyde researchers, including those from the School of Psychological Sciences & Health - but also papers by researchers based within the Faculties of Science, Engineering, Humanities & Social Sciences, and from the Strathclyde Business School.

Discover more...

The novice-expert continuum in astronomy knowledge

Bryce, T. G. K. and Blown, E. J. (2012) The novice-expert continuum in astronomy knowledge. International Journal of Science Education, 34 (4). pp. 545-587. ISSN 0950-0693

Full text not available in this repository. (Request a copy from the Strathclyde author)

Abstract

The nature of expertise in astronomy was investigated across a broad spectrum of ages and experience in China and New Zealand. Five hypotheses (capable of quantification and statistical analysis) were used to probe types of expertise identified by previous researchers: (a) domain-specific knowledge-skill in the use of scientific vocabulary and language and recognising relationships between concepts in linguistic and schematic forms; (b) higher-order theory in terms of conceptual structure and enriched scientific knowledge and reasoning; with an expectation of cultural similarity. There were 993 participants in all, age 3–80 years, including 68 junior school pupils; 68 pre-school pupils; 112 middle-school students; 109 high-school students; 79 physics undergraduates; 60 parents; 136 pre-service primary teachers; 131 pre-service secondary teachers; 72 primary teachers; 78 secondary teachers; 50 amateur astronomers and astronomy educators; and 30 astronomers and physicists; with approximately equal numbers of each group in both cultures; and of boys and girls in the case of children. For them, the methodology utilised Piagetian interviews with three media (verbal language, drawing, play-dough modelling), and for adults a questionnaire inviting responses in writing and drawing was used. The data from each group were categorised into ordinal scales and then analysed by means of Kolmogorov–Smirnov two-sample tests. The findings supported the hypotheses with evidence of all forms of expertise increasing with experience in both cultures (α level 0.05). The relative gains, overlaps and deficits in expertise across the novice-expert continuum are explored in detail.