A Review of Solution Chemistry Studies: Insights into Students’ Conceptions

ÇALIK M., Ayas A., Ebenezer J.

JOURNAL OF SCIENCE EDUCATION AND TECHNOLOGY, vol.14, no.1, pp.29-50, 2005 (Peer-Reviewed Journal)

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 14 Issue: 1
  • Publication Date: 2005
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index, Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.29-50


This study has reviewed the last two decades of student conception research in solution
chemistry pertaining to aims, methods of exploring students’ conception, general knowledge
claims, students’ conceptions and difficulties, and conceptual change studies. The aims of solution chemistry studies have been to assess students’ understanding level of solution chemistry and in some studies compare understanding based on age and year at school or college. The methods of exploring students’ conceptions consisted of interviews, paper and pencil surveys (open-ended questions and multiple-choice questions), free writing and drawings and the validity of these methods have been highlighted. The general knowledge claims synthesized in this study are students’ (a) attending to mechanical events, (b) preference for everyday language usage over chemical language, (c) confusing solution chemistry with non-related concepts, (d) lack of sub-microscopic explanation for macroscopic observation, (e) difficulty with visualizing and representing sub-microscopic ideas, (f) difficulty with symbolic representations, (g) inconsistent explanations, (h) development of student understanding with age, and (i) development of conservation reasoning with age. To incorporate students’ conceptions, conceptual change studies have used strategies such as worksheet, analogy, collaboratively working with a teacher, hypermedia, and group exploration. The results of conceptual change studies generally have had a positive impact enabling students to consider their ideas and develop plausible models of solution chemistry. For improvement of student learning in chemistry, this review of solution chemistry studies sheds light on teacher thinking and capacity building with respect to explicitly incorporating students’ conceptions into chemistry
curriculum; practicing research-based strategies; forging links among types of chemical
knowledge; collaborating for experimental teaching; and conducting further research.