Representation of Physics Knowledge by Experts and Novices

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Defense Technical Information Center, 1980 - 49 pages
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The studies reported here investigate the representation and organization of physics knowledge in experts and novices. Four experiments investigate the existence of schemata for physics problems, qualitative and quantitative differences in schemata types used by experts and novices, differences in the content of these schemata, and features in the physics problems that activate problem representations. Results obtained from problem sorting tasks and protocol analysis reveal that novices and experts begin with specifiably different problem representations depending on the structure of their knowledge. The initial representation and subsequent approach to problem solution used by experts is based on physics principles abstracted from a problem, while novices base their representation and approaches on the problem's literal features.

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