PI: Dr. George MacDonald, Education
Mr. Reginald Lee, Education

Sponsor: National Science Foundation
Bethune-Cookman University is examining the effects of socioscientific argumentation learning and development on student success in STEM. The overarching purpose of the research is to investigate how to produce STEM graduates with argumentation expertise to address ill-structured problems that require scientific, evidence-based reasoning to inform decisions. The researchers will structure an intervention around units of biology and environmental science courses focused on scientific issues and conduct a three-phase research study. The Phase I pilot will determine the current argumentation level of STEM students and analyze the pilot data to identify gaps in effective socioscientific argumentation development. In Phase II, the researchers will develop and adapt a socioscientific argumentation learning training system for students. Phase III will be an experimental study to investigate the effect of socioscientific argumentation training on student outcomes. The significance of the study is that the findings can be used to provide students with skills and competencies needed for graduate school or the STEM workforce; namely, evaluation of evidence, construction of arguments, and evaluation of competing arguments.