This study was designed to examine students' use of multiple modal representations within their written arguments as a consequence of completing a series of investigations of an organic chemistry laboratory course. One hundred and eleven students from a major Midwestern university were involved in using the Science Writing Heuristic (SWH) approach where they are required to use the argument structure of question, claim, evidence and reflection in completing the written report for their instructor on their laboratory investigations. Results indicate that students who achieved a high score for embedded multiple modal representations in the evidence section also constructed high quality arguments. That is, students who were able to embed multiple modal representations in evidence made strong reasoned connections to support their claim(s) and construct a cohesive argument. Further, there were strong correlations between the laboratory examination score and holistic quality of argument. This study suggests there is a need to build support structures pedagogically for the individual in order to help students understanding the role and function of multiple modal representations in science.
- Argument structure
- Multiple modal representations