Processes of argumentation and explanation in conceptual change: Results from protocol analyses of peer-to-peer dialogue

Christa S.C. Asterhan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Decades of research have proven that many misconceptions of scientific notions are difficult to uproot even after intensive instructional interventions. In this paper we examine the role of argumentation and of explanation development in dyadic dialogues and their relation to consequential individual conceptual change. Two quantitative dialogue coding schemes were developed with different granularity: The first assessed the interlocutors' dialog moves during the discussion that pertained to argumentation and explanation development. The second scheme characterized the dialogue as a whole on a number of social and socio-cognitive dimensions. The results emphasized the critical role of engagement in dialectical argumentation for conceptual change, whereas explanation development and validation was not related to learning gains. This finding may explain why instructional interventions are too often insufficient to uproot robust misconceptions. The methodological implications for the study of conceptual change, as well as the practical implications for designing for productive argumentation are discussed.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)60-67
Number of pages8
JournalComputer-Supported Collaborative Learning Conference, CSCL
Issue numberPART 1
StatePublished - 2008
EventInternational Perspectives in the Learning Sciences: Cre8ing a Learning World - 8th International Conference for the Learning Sciences, ICLS 2008 - Utrecht, Netherlands
Duration: 23 Jun 200828 Jun 2008

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by a CONACYT grant for doctorate studies (559379/296765) and constitutes part of the doctoral thesis of VMVM in the PhD Program in Natural Sciences UAEM. There was no additional external funding received for this study. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.


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