Refutation texts and argumentation for conceptual change: A winning or a redundant combination?

Christa S.C. Asterhan*, Maya S. Resnick

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Effective instruction for conceptual change should aim to reduce the interference of irrelevant knowledge structures, as well as to improve sense-making of counterintuitive scientific notions. Refutation texts are designed to support such processes, yet evidence for its effect on individual conceptual change of robust, complex misconceptions has not been equivocal. In the present work, we examine whether effects of refutation text reading on conceptual change in biological evolution can be augmented with subsequent peer argumentation activities. Hundred undergraduates read a refutation text followed by either peer argumentation on erroneous worked-out solutions or by standard, individual problem solving. Control group subjects read an expository text followed by individual problem solving. Results showed strong effects for the refutation text. Surprisingly, subsequent peer argumentation did not further improve learning gains after refutation text reading. Dialogue protocols analyses showed that gaining dyads were more likely to be symmetrical and to discuss core conceptual principles.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number101265
JournalLearning and Instruction
StatePublished - Feb 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Elsevier Ltd


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