Cognitive mapping of Advanced level Physics students' conceptions of Quantum Physics

Year: 1996

Author: Mashhadi, Azam, Woolnough, Brian

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Students experience considerable conceptual difficulties in trying to incorporate the ideas of quantum physics into their overall cognitive framework. The preliminary findings of a study investigating students' understanding of quantum phenomena is presented.

The powerful heuristic metaphor of the map is used to construct graphic representations of students' understanding being represented by their construction of groupings of ideas in a personal psychological space, with underlying dimensions providing a co-ordinate system for their perceptions. The relationships between students' conceptions (at the level of the population group) of quantum phenomena are investigated using a structured questionnaire, and multivariate analytical techniques (multidimensional scaling, cluster analysis, and factor analysis). Groupings of conceptions are identified and related to underlying interpretable dimensions.