A phenomenographic case study: Concept maps from the perspectives of middle school students

Yilmaz Saglam, Purdue University


The objective of this study was to investigate the experiences of middle school students when concept maps were used as a learning tool. Twenty-nine students' written responses, concept maps and videotapes were analyzed. Out of 29 students, thirteen students were interviewed using a semi-structured and open-ended interview protocol. The students' initial written responses provided us with the students' initial reactions to concept maps. The videotapes captured the students' behavior, and interpersonal interactions. The interviews probed students': (1) knowledge about drawing concept maps, (2) perception of the meaning and usefulness of concept maps, and (3) attitudes towards concept maps. The results indicated that the students viewed concept maps as useful tools in learning science. They believed that concept maps organized and summarized the information, which thereby helped them understand the topic easily. They also believed that concept maps had some cognitive benefits. However, the students viewed concept maps as hard to construct because it was difficult for the students to think of related concepts. The students' initial written responses, interviews and videotapes indicated that the students seemed to see both positive and negative aspects of concept maps. Some students' had more positive and some had more negative attitudes.^




Mary B. Nakhleh, Purdue University.

Subject Area

Education, Sciences|Education, Curriculum and Instruction

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