The development of scientific imagination model

Year: 2012

Author: Wang, Chia-Chi, Ho, Hsiao-Chi, Cheng, Chih-Ling, Cheng, Ying-Yao

Type of paper: Abstract refereed


Concept mapping is a type of structured conceptualization which can be used by groups. More research is needed on the application of concept mapping in scientific theory building in general. The purpose of this study was to construct a scientific imagination model by group concept mapping and further to verify the scientific imagination process developed by Ho et al. (2011). Participants of group concept mapping were five elementary school teachers and four researchers from southern Taiwan. Among them, five elementary school teachers have taught science for more than 22 years and had rich experience in advising award winning students in scientific competitions. Five discussion meetings were held from April to June, 2011. Data were collected through group concept mapping as well as relevant documents for data validation. Qualitative method was employed for data analysis. Three-phase concept mappings on scientific imagination were conducted using Trochim (1989)'s framework with six steps: preparation, the generation of statements, the structuring of statements, the representation of statements, the interpretation of maps, and the utilization of interpretable conceptual framework. The analysis results confirmed the scientific imagination process and identified four components of scientific imagination model: (1) personality: refers to how personality influences the generation of scientific imagination, (2) process: refers to scientific imagination works by phases, (3) picture in mind: refers to the foundation of mental image works in scientific imagination process, (4) surroundings: refers to how surroundings stimulate imagination generation. The application of scientific imagination model can not only enhance cognition in scientific imagination but also be applicable in real life. Based on the scientific imagination model, a checklist will be developed for teachers to foster students' scientific imagination and for researchers to establish tools for assessing students' imagination power.

Keywords: scientific imagination, scientific imagination model, concept mapping