Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Marcy Towns

Committee Chair

Marcy Towns

Committee Member 1

George M. Bodner

Committee Member 2

Shelley Claridge

Committee Member 3

Lyudmila Slipchenko


The benefits of facilitating argumentation in science education have been well reported (Jimenez-Aleixandre & Erduran, 2007). Engaging in argumentation has shown to model authentic scientific inquiry as well as promote development of content knowledge. However, less emphasis has been placed on facilitating argumentation in upper level undergraduate courses, though it is important for evaluating undergraduate curricula to characterize upper level students’ scientific reasoning. This work considers two implementations of the POGIL physical chemistry curriculum and evaluates the classroom argumentation. The researchers aimed to consider the content of the arguments and dialectical features characteristic of socially constructed arguments (Nielson, 2013). To do this, whole class sessions were videotaped and Toulmin’s Argument Pattern (TAP) was used to identify the arguments generated during the class (Erduran, Simon, & Osborne, 2004). A learning progression on chemical thinking (Sevian & Talanquer, 2014) was used as a domain-specific measure of argument quality. Results show differences in argumentation between and across both classrooms that can be explained by analysis of instructor facilitation and the POGIL curriculum. The results from this work will be used to make recommendations for instructor facilitation of argumentation and reform of the POGIL curriculum.