Introducing Argumentation About Climate Change Socioscientific Issues in a Disadvantaged School

V. Dawson, K. Carson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)


Improving the ability of young people to construct arguments about controversial science topics is a desired outcome of science education. The purpose of this research was to evaluate the impact of an argumentation intervention on the socioscientific issue of climate change with Year 10 students in a disadvantaged Australian school. After participation in a professional development workshop on climate change science, socioscientific issues and argumentation, an early career teacher explicitly taught argumentation over four non-consecutive lessons as part of a 4 week (16 lesson) topic on Earth science. Thirty students completed a pre- and post-test questionnaire to determine their understanding of climate change science and their ability to construct an argument about a climate change socioscientific issue. Students’ understanding of climate change improved significantly (p < .001) with a large effect size. There was also a significant increase (p < .05) in the number of categories provided in written arguments about a climate change issue. Qualitative data, comprising classroom observation field notes, lesson transcripts, work samples, and teacher and student interviews, were analysed for the extent to which the students’ argumentation skills improved. At the end of the intervention, students became aware of the need to justify their decisions with scientific evidence. It is concluded that introducing argumentation about climate change socioscientific issues to students in a disadvantaged school can improve their argumentation skills.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)863-883
Number of pages21
JournalResearch in Science Education
Issue number3
Early online date27 Mar 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2020


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