Cognition in Scientific and Everyday Domains: Comparison and Learning Implications
F. Reif, J.H. Larkin 1991 Journal of Research in Science Teaching v28 no9 p733-760
Science and everyday life employ different knowledge domains with different priorities and practices. Scientific knowledge has to be carefully validated and well organized to reduce errors and to allow investigators to make a lot of predictions from only a few principles. All terms and concepts have to be defined carefully and clearly. Everyday knowledge is justified by familiarity, intuition, or conformity with common sense and valid elements of an everyday knowledge base may conflict with one another. If students don’t understand how science works, they’ll try and apply everyday knowledge in science classes. When that doesn’t work, they often resort to memorizing what they have defined as "facts". Students rarely understand the need to define concepts clearly or to organize their knowledge. Since their knowledge isn't coherent, it's hard to learn and remember. Students also rarely realize that scientists use formal and informal methods of investigation in complementary ways.