Scientific Reasoning and Argumentation: Advancing an Interdisciplinary Research Agenda in Education

Main Article Content

Frank Fischer
Ingo Kollar
Stefan Ufer
Beate Sodian
Heinrich Hussmann
Reinhard Pekrun
Birgit Neuhaus
Birgit Dorner
Sabine Pankofer
Martin Fischer
Jan-Willem Strijbos
Moritz Heene
Julia Eberle


Scientific reasoning and scientific argumentation are highly valued outcomes of K-12 and higher education. In this article, we first review main topics and key findings of three different strands of research, namely research on the development of scientific reasoning, research on scientific argumentation, and research on approaches to support scientific reasoning and argumentation. Building on these findings, we outline current research deficits and address five aspects that exemplify where and how research on scientific reasoning and ar-gumentation needs to be expanded. In particular, we suggest to ground future research in a conceptual frame-work with three epistemic modes (advancing theory building about natural and social phenomena, artefact-centred scientific reasoning, and science-based reasoning in practice) and eight epistemic activities (problem identification, questioning, hypothesis generation, construction and redesign of artefacts, evidence generation, evidence evaluation, drawing conclusions as well as communicating and scrutinizing scientific reasoning and its results). We further propose addressing the domain specificities and domain generalities of scientific reasoning and approaches to its facilitation as well as investigating the role of epistemic emotions in scientific reasoning, the social context of SRA, and the influence of digital technologies on scientific reasoning and argumentation.

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How to Cite
Fischer, F., Kollar, I., Ufer, S., Sodian, B., Hussmann, H., Pekrun, R., Neuhaus, B., Dorner, B., Pankofer, S., Fischer, M., Strijbos, J.-W., Heene, M., & Eberle, J. (2014). Scientific Reasoning and Argumentation: Advancing an Interdisciplinary Research Agenda in Education. Frontline Learning Research, 2(3), 28–45.
Author Biography

Frank Fischer, Ludwig Maximilians University

Frank Fischer earned his doctorate in Psychology in 1997 from the University of Munich. He was an assistant professor for Applied Cognitive Psychology and Media Psychology at the University of Tuebingen and held a professorship for Instructional Psychology at the University of Erfurt (2002-2003). From 2004-2006 he was an associate professor for Research on Learning and Instruction at the University of Tuebingen and at the Knowledge Media Research Center. Since October 2006, he has been a full professor of Educational Science and Educational Psychology at the University of Munich. He served as Dean of Faculty (2011-2013). Since 2009 and has been the Director of the Munich Center of the Learning Sciences, an interdisciplinary collaboration of more than 30 research groups focussing on advancing research on learning „from cortex to community“. He also served as the President of the International Society of the Learning Sciences (2012-2013) and is member of the Executive Committee of this society in the role of the past-president. His research focuses on scripting, scaffolding and guidance for collaborative learning, as well as inquiry and simulation-based learning. An overarching question is how technology-enhanced learning environments can advance knowledge and skills of collaborative learners in school, higher and continuing education. Two of his recent projects address questions of collaborative learning in video-supported environments in the context of teacher professional development. He has published more than 100 articles and chapters, and co-edited 6 books and special issues of scientific journals.


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