Chapter 2: Qualitative Reasoning in Problem-solving in Chemistry
Published:17 May 2021
V. Talanquer, in Problems and Problem Solving in Chemistry Education: Analysing Data, Looking for Patterns and Making Deductions, ed. G. Tsaparlis, The Royal Society of Chemistry, 2021, ch. 2, pp. 15-37.
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Many of the problems that students face in chemistry courses require qualitative chemical reasoning. This type of reasoning is based on the analysis of compositional and structural information about the components of a system to build inferences and causal stories about their properties and behaviours. This chapter summarises core findings from research in chemistry education on the challenges that students face to engage in this type of reasoning. These challenges include difficulties translating from explicit to implicit information in chemical representations, building inferences, constructing causal stories, and navigating multiple scale and dimensions of analysis. Evidence-based educational practices that best support student learning in this area are also described and discussed.