by C Tippett · 2009 · Cited by 76 — The rhetorical goal of scientific discourse is consensus based on evidence rather than compromise or conciliation achieved through democratic processes. As
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Journal of Elementary Science Education, Vol. 21, No. 1 (Winter 2009), pp. 17-25. ©2009 Document and Publication Services, Western Illinois University. Argumentation: The Language of Science IntroductionIn the past two decades, the role of language in the science curriculum has become prominent in science education literature (e.g., Dawes, 2004; Gee, 1989; Lemke, 1990; Yore, Bisanz, & Hand, 2003). From a constructivist perspective, language mediates social interaction and meaning is constructed as learners interpret and reinterpret events through the lens of prior knowledge (Barnes, 1992; Berk & Winsler, 1995). This perspective applied to the science classroom results in the view that scientific knowledge is socially constructed, negotiated, validated, and communicated in the context of the specific discourse practices of science (Driver, Asoko, Leach, Mortimer, & Scott, 1994). The rhetorical goal of scientific discourse is consensus based on evidence rather than compromise or conciliation achieved through democratic processes. As scientists attempt to reach consensus, they engage in a process known as argumentation whereby they attempt to persuade others of the validity of their claims. In fact, argumentation has been called the language of science (Duschl, Ellenbogan, & Erduran, 1999). Argumentation has also been identified as a possible mechanism for conceptual growth and change (e.g., Driver et al., 1994; Mercer, Dawes, Wegerif, & Sams, 2004; Nussbaum & Sinatra, 2003). In this article, I begin by briefly discussing forms of argument and describing two frameworks that may be used to analyze arguments. Next, I review the science argumentation literature, highlight themes, and examine research trends. Finally, I pose questions that could be addressed by future research and reflect upon two pedagogical implications that arise in the science argumentation literature. Forms of Argument Arguments can be classified as rhetorical, dialectical, or analytical (Duschl & Osborne, 2002). Rhetorical or didactic arguments are used to persuade others by presenting one point of view as more convincing than the alternatives. They are one-sided arguments and are frequently discursive in nature (Driver, Newton, & Osborne, 2000; Yore, 2003). Dialectical arguments , sometimes referred to as dialogical or multivoiced arguments , involve the examination of differing perspectives during discussion or debate. Analytical arguments follow the rules of logic (e.g., Toulmin, 1958) and may be inductive or deductive (Duschl & Osborne, 2002; Yore, 2003). Inductive arguments include analogies and causal correlations, while deductive arguments include syllogisms and causal generalizations (Duschl & Osborne, 2002). Current science education reform emphasizes the use of dialectical and analytical arguments while deemphasizing rhetorical arguments, which traditionally have been predominant in the classroom (Driver et al., 2000).

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Frameworks for Argument Analysis Just as there are a variety of forms of argument, there are a variety of frameworks that can be used to analyze arguments. Much of the argument analysis in science education research has been based on the pattern of argument described by Toulmin (1958) (e.g., Bell & Linn, 2000; Mason & Santi, 1994). Toulmin™s Argument Pattern (TAP) contains six elements as shown in Figure 1: (1) data, (2) warrants, (3) backings, (4) qualifiers, (5) rebuttals, and (6) claims (Erduran, Simon, & Osborne, 2004). Data, the facts that are appealed to in support of a claim, are considered evidence if there is a classificatory, comparative, or statistical relationship between the data and the claim (Yore, 2003); Warrants are the rules or principles used to justify the relationship between the data and the claim; Backings are the underlying assumptions that provide the justification for a warrant; Qualifiers are statements of the conditions under which the claim will be true, and they place limitations on the claim; Rebuttals are statements of the conditions under which the claim will not be true; and Claims are the conclusions whose merits are to be established through argument. Source: Toulmin (1958) The application of TAP, which emphasizes the generic features of argument, is described in detail by Erduran et al. (2004). TAP has also been used to evaluate the quality of argument, although the appropriateness of this type of application has been questioned because of the unproven assumption that the inclusion of particular elements of argument indicates quality (Mason & Santi, 1994; Osborne, Simon, & Erduran, 2004; Yore & Treagust, 2006). Other science education researchers have used an alternate framework for analyzing science argument. Walton (as cited in Duschl & Osborne, 2002) proposed an argumentation scheme for presumptive reasoning that contains 25 categories of argument and emphasizes the content of argument, focusing on evidence and premises. Researchers using Walton™s presumptive reasoning scheme have tended to use only selected portions of the scheme (e.g., Jiménez-Aleixandre & Pereiro-

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Muñoz, 2002) or they combine categories to obtain a more workable analytical framework (e.g., Duschl et al., 1999). Literature Review The science argumentation literature is quite limited, consisting of more expert opinions than research, although researchers have examined general discussion in science contexts (e.g., roles in small group science discourse) and argumentation in other contexts (e.g., in social studies classes). For example, Felton (2004) worked with 7th- and 8th-grade students (ages 12 to 14) in a social studies context. Students who argued about capital punishment were able to improve their arguments in a reflection activity in which students with the same view compared warrants and rebuttals before arguing with a student who held the opposing view. It is important to note, however, that the results of such studies may not be generalizable to science argumentation because what counts as a good argument depends on the contextŠa point made by Newton, Driver, and Osborne (1999) when they proposed that argumentation was a crucial component of science education if students were to learn about the nature of science while they learned science content. Therefore, this literature review is limited to those studies and expert opinion pieces that have focused on argumentation in the science classroom. In addition, the literature review is limited to oral argumentation, although arguments can be spoken or written. The literature review begins with a brief description of the origins of science argumentation research, continues with a list of common themes and a discussion of the trends that are emerging in research results, and ends with questions for future research and implications for teachers. Development of Science Argumentation Research Although language education researchers in the 1960s and 1970s discovered that children use speech for a variety of functions (e.g., Halliday, 1969; Tough, 1977), it was not until the 1990s that science education researchers began to focus on a distinctly different pattern of discussion that sometimes could be observed (e.g., Doig, 1997; Lemke, 1990; Vellom & Anderson, 1999; Warren & Rosebery, 1995). Instead of focusing on procedural issues, students would seek evidence and reach collaborative decisions, as shown in Table 1. In 1993, Kuhn proposed argument as a metaphor for science as she attempted to connect children™s informal thinking in science with scientists™ formal thinking. Around the same time, Driver et al. (1994) pointed out that learning science should include learning scientific ways of knowing, and they identified argumentation as the epistemological basis of science. At that point, argumentation became a focus for some science education researchers, and the argumentation literature accumulated.

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Procedural Focus (Dawes, 2004, p. 691) Argumentation Focus (Mercer et al., 2004, p. 369) Hannah: I choose which materials we go onŠmeasure. Results 0.7. Right write Œ write ‚glass.™ [Points to screen.] Darryl: Write ‚glass™ [Points to screen. Deborah writes.] Hannah: 0.7. Cork 0.6 C.O.R.K. 0.6. Right, let™s tryŒ Deborah: It™s someone else™s turn. Darryl: It™s my turn [Darryl takes the mouse.] Hannah: We™ve done glass haven™t we? Deborah & Darryl: Yes Darryl: It™s my turn. We done that. Alana: Dijek, how much did you think it would be for tissue paper? Dijek: At least ten because tissue paper is thin. Tissue paper can wear out and you can see through, other people in the way, and light can shine in it.Alana: OK. Thanks. Alana (to Ross): Why do you think it? Ross: Because I tested it before! Alana: No, Ross, what did you think? How much did you think? Tissue paper. How much tissue paper did you think it would be to block out the light? Ross: At first I though it would be five, but secondŒAlana: Why did you think that? As I read through the argumentation literatureŠboth expert opinion pieces and primary researchŠI identified some common themes such as the importance of authentic learning and the related idea of a community of learners/validators, the need for explicit instruction in argumentation and for multiple opportunities to practice argumentation skills, the existence of multiple discourses, and the increasing emphasis on the role of metacognition in argumentation. Many of these themes are theory-based rather than research-based, and the limited research on science argumentation does not yet permit a detailed exploration of these ideas. However, in the following section, I present the trends that are beginning to emerge from the studies that have focused specifically on science argumentation. Research Results Although argumentation research is a growing area of interest, the number of published studies that focus on argumentation in the context of science is still relatively small. Despite the lack of a comprehensive body of research results, my review of the literature revealed five emerging trends. In this section, I present each of the five trends in the form of a claim and then provide evidence from two or more studies to support that claim: 1. Explicit instruction helps students argue more effectively. Bell and Linn (2000) worked with middle school students (approximate ages 11 to 14) who were studying light and who used SenseMaker, a computer program designed to scaffold argument construction and to make thinking visible. Their findings indicated that the process of building arguments might promote knowledge integration. They also found that student belief about the nature of science as dynamic was related to the development of more complex arguments. Mercer et al. (2004), in a project involving teachers and 5th-grade students (ages 9 to 10) during a unit on light and sound (see Table 1), examined the effects of teacher scaffolding of student

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argumentation. Teachers were shown how to scaffold students™ attempts at critical questioning, sharing information, and negotiating decisions. Results indicated that students in the experimental (argumentation efforts scaffolded) group made more detailed contributions to discussions and worked more collaboratively to reach consensus than students in the control group. 2. Professional development helps teachers emphasize argumentation and scaffold it more effectively. Newton et al. (1999) surveyed 14 experienced science teachers and found that many of the teachers commented on the need for more professional development to build the skills and confidence that are necessary for managing discussions and facilitating argumentation. The possibility that professional development could lead to more effective teacher implementation of argumentation was investigated by Simon, Erduran, and Osborne (2006), who conducted a two-year study of 8th-grade science teachers. They found that ongoing professional development enabled teachers to adapt and develop their classroom practice to include the use of argumentation. In addition, both the quality and quantity of student argumentation, as measured by the TAP rubric, increased as teachers incorporated argument-based lessons (Osborne et al., 2004). 3. Well-established ground rules for acceptable argumentation enable more students to participate in focused argumentation. Vellom and Anderson (1999) worked with 6th-grade students (ages 11 to 12) who were studying the density of liquids, and they allowed students to determine the norms, or ground rules and acceptable behaviors, for discussion as the community of validators developed. They noted that the argumentation process did not seem as effective for marginalized students. In contrast, Mercer et al. (2004), who worked with 5th-grade students (ages 9 to 10) studying light and sound, established argumentation norms through explicit instruction. They found that resulting discussions were more likely to be on-task and that students in the experimental (argumentation norms established) group were more likely to demonstrate argumentation skills than students in the control group. Mercer et al. claimed that establishing ground rules created an equitable intellectual environment and neutralized issues of social status, leading to greater participation for marginalized students. 4. Explicit instruction and established ground rules for argumentation promote increased conceptual growth and change. Mercer et al. (2004), in their study of 5th-grade students (ages 9 to 10) who were learning about light and sound, found that students in the experimental (argumentation) group had significantly higher scores on a concept map assessment than students in the control group. Nussbaum and Sinatra (2003), who focused on undergraduates and Newtonian physics, found that although a similar percentage of students in both the experimental and the control group were able to answer computer-simulated problems correctly, the students in the experimental group showed a deeper understanding of the concepts of gravity and momentum than the students in the control group. A delayed posttest indicated that the depth of understanding was retained for students in the experimental group, although it should be noted that students in the control group did not take the delayed posttest. 5. Metacognitive skills are related to argumentation skills. Metacognition, which has been described as thinking about thinking to improve one™s thinking, has

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been linked to critical thinking and conceptual change (Yore & Treagust, 2006). Mason and Santi (1994), who worked with 5th-grade students (ages 10 to 11) who were studying pollution, identified four levels of metacognitive awareness during argumentation: (1) awareness of what one knows, (2) awareness of why one knows something, (3) awareness of knowledge construction procedures, and (4) awareness of changes in one™s own conceptual structures. They also found that specific elements of Toulmin™s (1958) argument pattern were related to specific levels of metacognitive thinkingŠfor example, students™ use of warrants was related to an awareness of knowledge construction procedures. Duschl et al. (1999), who worked with middle school science students, also noted a connection between argumentation and metacognition and suggested that students™ understanding of patterns of argument could be used to develop metacognition. Suggestions for Future Research Argumentation is a relatively recent focus in science education research, so there are many areas requiring further research. Questions that need to be addressed include the following: fiIs the quality of argumentation determined by the presence of particular elements such as warrants and qualifiers or by the level of persuasiveness of the arguments?,fl fiWhat influence do factors such as gender, power, and academic ability have on the quality of argumentation and on the extent of student participation?,fl fiIs argumentation more appropriate for particular science topics, and, if so, which topics and at what grade levels?,fl fiWhat do teachers require in the way of professional development, both preservice and inservice, in order to effectively implement argumentation?,fl fiWhat role does metacognition play in argumentation?,fl fiAre there tools other than TAP or Walton™s presumptive reasoning scheme that may be more suitable for analyzing arguments and argumentation?,fl fiDo students who possess skills in argumentation have a greater understanding of public science, the science presented in the media?,fl and fiIs there a link between the use of argumentation and science understanding?fl Addressing these final two questions is essential if argumentation is to become an integral part of the science curriculum and classroom practice. Implications for Teachers The review of the science argumentation literature revealed some implications for classroom teachers, with two major issues: (1) professional development and (2) explicit teaching. Driver et al. (2000) called for a shift in emphasis from rhetorical arguments conducted by teachers to dialectical and analytical arguments conducted by students. Teaching professional development with an emphasis on pedagogical knowledge and pedagogical content knowledge would help teachers to negotiate this shift. Duschl and Osborne (2002) and Mercer et al. (2004) noted that teachers must establish norms for argumentation and explicitly teach argument skills. Professional development would benefit teachers who are attempting to modify their classroom practice to include a focus on argumentation. The science argumentation literature contains many suggestions for instructional approaches that can be used to explicitly teach argumentation. Those approaches include using a discussion web to encourage students to develop supporting statements for both sides of an argument (see Figure 2) (Alvermann, 1991). Students also could use computer software to construct and edit arguments (e.g., SenseMaker, as described in Bell & Linn, 2000). Teachers could scaffold student argumentation using frameworks such as those developed by Osborne et al. (2004,

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References Alvermann, D. (1991). The discussion web: A graphic aid for learning across the curriculum. The Reading Teacher, 45 (1), 92-99.Barnes, D. (1992). From communication to curriculum (2nd ed.). Portsmouth, NH: Boynton/Cook Publishers.Bell, P., & Linn, M. (2000). Scientific arguments as learning artifacts: Designing for learning from the web with KIE. International Journal of Science Education, 22 (8), 797-817.Berk, L., & Winsler, A. (1995). Scaffolding children™s learning: Vygotsky and early childhood education. Washington, DC: National Association for the Education of Young Children. Dawes, L. (2004). Talk and learning in classroom science. International Journal of Science Education, 26(6), 677-695.Doig, B. (1997, March). What makes scientific dialogue possible in the classroom? A paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, Chicago. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED413246) Driver, R., Asoko, H., Leach, J., Mortimer, E., & Scott, P. (1994). Constructing scientific knowledge in the classroom. Educational Researcher, 23 (7), 5-12.Driver, R., Newton, P., & Osborne, J. (2000). Establishing the norms of scientific argumentation in classrooms. Science Education, 84(3), 287-312.Duschl, R., Ellenbogan, K., & Erduran, S. (1999, March). Promoting argumentation in middle school science classrooms: A Project SEPIA evaluation . A paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the National Association for Research in Science Teaching, Boston. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED453050) Duschl, R., & Osborne, J. (2002). Supporting and promoting argumentation discourse in science education. Studies in Science Education, 38, 39-72.Erduran, S., Simon, S., & Osborne, J. (2004). TAPping into argumentation: Developments in the application of Toulmin™s Argument Pattern for studying science discourse. Science Education, 88(6), 915-933.Felton, M. K. (2004). The development of discourse strategies in adolescent argument. Cognitive Development, 19(1), 35-52.Gee, J. P. (1989). What is literacy? Journal of Education, 171(1), 18-25.Halliday, M. A. K. (1969). Relevant models of language. Educational Review, 21 (3), 26-37.Jiménez-Aleixandre, M., & Erduran, S. (2008). Argumentation in science education: An overview. In S. Erduran & M. Jiménez-Aleixandre (Eds.), Argumentation in science education: Perspectives from classroom-based research (pp. 3-27). Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer. Jiménez-Aleixandre, M., & Pereiro-Muñoz, C. (2002). Knowledge producers or knowledge consumers? Argument and decision making about environmental management. International Journal of Science Education, 24(11), 1171-1190. Johnson, D., & Johnson, R. (1988). Critical thinking through structured controversy. Educational Leadership, 45(8), 58-64.Kuhn, D. (1993). Science as argument: Implications for teaching and learning science. Science Education, 77(3), 319-337.Lemke, J. L. (1990). Talking science: Language, learning, and values . Norwood, NJ: Ablex Publishing Corporation.Mason, L., & Santi, M. (1994, April). Argumentation structure and metacognition in constructing shared knowledge at school . A paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, New Orleans, LA.

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Mercer, N., Dawes, L., Wegerif, R., & Sams, C. (2004). Reasoning as a scientist: Ways of helping children to use language to learn science. British Educational Research Journal, 30 (3), 359-377.Newton, P., Driver, R., & Osborne, J. (1999). The place of argumentation in the pedagogy of school science. International Journal of Science Education, 21 (5), 553-576.Nussbaum, E., & Sinatra, G. (2003). Argument and conceptual engagement. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 28 , 384-395.Osborne, J., Simon, S., & Erduran, S. (2004). Enhancing the quality of argumentation in school science. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 41 (10), 994-1020.Simon, S., Erduran, S., & Osborne, J. (2006). Learning to teach argumentation: Research and development in the science classroom. International Journal of Science Education, 28(2-3), 235-260.Tough, J. (1977). The development of meaning: A study of children™s use of language . New York: John Wiley & Sons. Toulmin, S. E. (1958). The uses of argument . London: Cambridge University Press. Vellom, R., & Anderson, C. (1999). Reasoning about data in middle school science. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 36 (2), 179-199.Warren, B., & Rosebery, A. (1995). This question is just too, too easy! (Research Report No. 14). Santa Cruz, CA: National Center for Research on Cultural Diversity and Second Language Learning.Yore, L. (2003). Quality science and mathematics education research: Considerations of argument, evidence, and generalizability. School Science and Mathematics, 103 , 1-7.Yore, L., Bisanz, G., & Hand, B. (2003). Examining the literacy component of science literacy: 25 years of language arts and science research. International Journal of Science Education, 25(6), 689-725.Yore, L., & Treagust, D. (2006). Current realities and future possibilities: Language and science literacyŠempowering research and informing instruction. International Journal of Science Education, 28(2-3), 291-314.Correspondence regarding this article should be directed to Christine Tippett Instructor University of Victoria Faculty of EducationDepartment of Curriculum and Instruction P.O. Box 3010 STN CSC Victoria, BC, Canada V8W 3N4(250) 721-7808Fax: (250) 721-7598ctippett@uvic.caManuscript accepted February 12, 2008.

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