Context provides meaning for data analysis and the evaluation of evidence but may be distracting to students. This research explores the role of context in students’ reasoning about sampling: specifically, the relationship between the strength of students’ opinions about a topic, which provides the context for a study, and their ability to judge the quality of the sampling method and the scope of the conclusions in the study. Data were collected at four diverse institutions in both a testing environment and through individual interviews. Student responses were analyzed using a grounded theory approach. Testing environment results showed little evidence of the use of context whereas interview results shows more evidence of reliance on context-bases opinions rather than statistical principles.
- Prof Dev