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The Chemical Educator

ISSN: 1430-4171 (electronic version)

Table of Contents

Abstract Volume 15 (2010) pp 187-194

Analysis of Instructional Analogies Reported by Secondary-School Chemistry Teachers

Robert W. Milne* and Henry W. Heikkinen

Natural Science Division, Sheridan College, Sheridan, Wyoming 82801; and School of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Northern Colorado, Greeley, Colorado 80639,
Received June 10, 2007. Accepted July 25, 2008

Published: 30 April 2010

Abstract. Characteristics of analogies reported by 15 secondary-school chemistry teachers over six weeks of teaching were evaluated in light of literature recommendations for effective instructional uses of analogies. Teachers’ responses to biweekly prompts from the researchers regarding their submitted analogies, together with exit-interview responses, were used to analyze teachers’ reported instructional uses of analogies. E-mailed responses and exit-interviews were analyzed using grounded theory. Results suggest that reported analogy use was largely congruent with major literature-based guidelines for effective use, but teachers generally failed to address limitations of analogies. However, selected interviews indicated that participating teachers considered it important to discuss analogical limitations with students. Several data-supported explanations to resolve this discrepancy are offered.

Key Words: Of Special Interest; high school

(*) Corresponding author. (E-mail:

Article in PDF format (51 KB) HTML format

Supporting Materials:

The compilation of all analogies received from participating teachers during pilot and full study phases of this research (103 KB).

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