Title

THE RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN COGNITIVE STYLES, METHODS OF INSTRUCTION, KNOWLEDGE, AND PROCESS SKILLS OF COLLEGE CHEMISTRY STUDENTS

Date of Award

1986

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Chemistry and Biochemistry

First Advisor

Donald R. Cotten

Advisor Department

Chemistry and Biochemistry

Abstract

The purpose of this research was to examine the relationships between field-independent or field-dependent cognitive styles, general chemistry knowledge and process skills of students taught by either an investigative or a conventional laboratory method of instruction. A quasi-experimental design with a non-equivalent control group was used in this study. Intact laboratory sections were randomly assigned to either the experimental or control group. The experimental group (N = 45) was composed of three laboratory sections which participated in the investigative laboratory method. The control group (N = 34) included two laboratory sections which participated in the conventional laboratory method of instruction. The instruments of American Chemical Society Examination and the Test of Integrated Process Skills were utilized to obtain pre- and post-scores. The Group Embedded Figures Test was used to classify the students' field-independent or field-dependent cognitive style. Significant relationships were found between cognitive styles and process skills of chemistry students taught by either an investigative or a conventional laboratory method of instruction. No significant relationship between cognitive styles and knowledge of chemistry resulted from the use of either of the two laboratory instructional methods. Analysis of data showed that the investigative and conventional laboratory methods did not produce significant difference in the students' knowledge of chemistry or process skills for either field-independent or field-dependent cognitive styles. The results indicated that neither the investigative nor the conventional instructional method may be superior to the other in terms of improving knowledge of chemistry and process skills of students with various cognitive styles.