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Developing and using an S3R model to analyze reasoning in web-based cross-national exchanges on sustainability

journal contribution
posted on 2014-05-01, 00:00 authored by O Morin, L Simonneaux, J Simonneaux, Russell TytlerRussell Tytler, Laura Barraza
Within the increasing body of research that examines students' reasoning on socioscientific issues, we consider in particular student reasoning concerning acute, open-ended questions that bring out the complexities and uncertainties embedded in ill-structured problems. In this paper, we propose a socioscientific sustainability reasoning (S3R) model to analyze students' reasoning exchanges on environmental socially acute questions (ESAQs). The paper describes the development of an epistemological analysis of how sustainability perspectives can be integrated into socioscientific reasoning, which emphasizes the need for S3R to be both grounded in context and collective. We argue the complexity of ESAQs requires a consideration of multiple dimensions that form the basis of our S3R analysis model: problematization, interactions, knowledge, uncertainties, values, and governance. For each dimension, in the model we have identified indicators of four levels of complexity. We investigated the usefulness of the model in identifying improvements in reasoning that flow from cross-national web-based exchanges between groups of French and Australian students, concerning a local and a global ESAQ. The S3R model successfully captured the nature of reasoning about socioscientific sustainability issues, with the collective negotiation of multiple forms of knowledge as a key characteristic in improving reasoning levels. The paper provides examples of collaborative argumentation in collective texts (wikis) to illustrate the various levels of reasoning in each dimension, and diagrammatic representation of the evolution of collective reflections. We observe that a staged process of construction and confrontation, involving groups representing to some extent different cultural and contextual stances, is powerful in eliciting reasoned argument of enhanced quality. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.



Science education






517 - 542


Wiley Periodicals


Hoboken, NJ







Publication classification

C Journal article; C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2014, Wiley