Summary and conclusions


Book: 
The Development of Scientific Thinking Skills
Authors: 
Kuhn, D.
Editors: 
Kuhn, D., Amsel, E., & O'Loughlin, M.
Type: 
Category: 
Pages: 
219-235
Year: 
1988
Publisher: 
San Diego: Academic Press Inc.
Place: 
San Diego
Abstract: 

The development of scientific thinking is centered around the development of skills in the coordination of theories and evidence. Three skills are required to achieve ideal coordination: 1) the ability to think about a theory rather than to think with it (i.e., awareness and control of a theory, to use and contemplate it- the ability to evaluate the bearing of evidence on a theory is due to such awareness., and the ability to see that a theory may be false and that alternative theories exist); 2) theory and evidence must be differentiated; and 3) ability to temporarily set aside one's own acceptance (or rejection) of a theory in order to assess what the evidence itself would mean for the theory. Two factors are required for the development of skills in coordinating theory and evidence: 1) exercise in relating evidence to multiple theories and 2) development in the skills involved in the interpretation of evidence given that it is sufficiently differentiated from theory. In conclusion, the main finding in all these studies was that older children, adolescents, and adults are limited in their understanding of covariation and its connection to causality.