This study was conducted to explore the differences of problem-solving procedures and thinking structures between science majors and nonscience majors. A total of eleven Chinese graduate students, consisting of 5 science majors and 6 nonscience majors, participated in this study and completed the same task. The interview data showed us that: (1) Nonscience majors began with personal experience questions whereas science majors promptly designed an experiment; (2) Nonscience majors tended to confirm expected answers whereas science majors tended to explore some questions with unknown answers; (3) Nonscience majors preferred to process the procedures by creating the plan mentally in advance, whereas science majors preferred to proceed by doing, adjusting the plan as the procedures progressed; (4) Science majors would consider the assumption and the validity of the test whereas nonscience majors rarely did; and (5) Nonscience majors were curious about how they would fare if given the same testing situation whereas science majors completed only the required task. Further discussion revealed that the reasoner's epistemology or academic experiences might strongly influence these problem-solving processes, thinking and actions. The implications of this study for improving current curriculum design were discussed.
|Number of pages||7|
|Journal||School Science and Mathematics|
|Publication status||Published - 1996|