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Physical Review Physics Education Research
written by Esmeralda Campos, Eder Hernandez, Pablo Barniol, and Genaro Zavala
There are studies of students' understanding of the concept of the electric field, the magnetic field, and the use of the superposition principle that have contributed to the creation of both educational strategies and assessment tools. However, the difficulties of these two concepts have not been compared comprehensively. Therefore, this study aims to compare students' conceptual understanding of electric and magnetic fields in questions regarding the field created by one source and the field produced by a system of two sources. We focus our study on students' explanations about the magnitude and direction of the field and their application of the superposition principle in both contexts (electric and magnetic). We conducted this study with 322 engineering students in a Mexican university. We designed two versions of an open-ended questionnaire, one with the context of electricity and the other with magnetism. We created the questions using the parallelism between electricity and magnetism and used schematic representations with similar surface features to represent this parallelism. Analyzing the data through a phenomenographic approach, students' drawings and explanations gave insight into their understanding of the concept of field and the superposition principle. We found that students have similar categories of understanding the concept of the electric and the magnetic field. Among our findings: greater tendency that a student correctly applies the superposition principle if that student has a robust representation of the field; evidence that students consistently merge two different representations (vector plots and field lines) in electricity and magnetism; difficulty of confusion between forces and fields is more attached to the electricity context.
Physical Review Physics Education Research: Volume 17, Issue 2, Pages 020117
Subjects Levels Resource Types
Education - Basic Research
- Alternative Conceptions
- Cognition
= Cognition Development
- Problem Solving
= Representational Use
Electricity & Magnetism
- Electric Fields and Potential
= Electric Field
- Magnetic Fields and Forces
General Physics
- Physics Education Research
- Scientific Reasoning
- Lower Undergraduate
- Reference Material
= Research study
PER-Central Type Intended Users Ratings
- PER Literature
- Educators
- Professional/Practitioners
- Administrators
- Researchers
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This material is released under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license.
Rights Holder:
American Physical Society
DOI:
10.1103/PhysRevPhysEducRes.17.020117
Keywords:
Phenomenological analysis, mental models, student preconception
Record Creator:
Metadata instance created November 10, 2021 by Lyle Barbato
Record Updated:
January 25, 2022 by Lyle Barbato
Last Update
when Cataloged:
September 13, 2021
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AIP Format
E. Campos, E. Hernandez, P. Barniol, and G. Zavala, , Phys. Rev. Phys. Educ. Res. 17 (2), 020117 (2021), WWW Document, (https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevPhysEducRes.17.020117).
AJP/PRST-PER
E. Campos, E. Hernandez, P. Barniol, and G. Zavala, Phenomenographic analysis and comparison of students’ conceptual understanding of electric and magnetic fields and the principle of superposition, Phys. Rev. Phys. Educ. Res. 17 (2), 020117 (2021), <https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevPhysEducRes.17.020117>.
APA Format
Campos, E., Hernandez, E., Barniol, P., & Zavala, G. (2021, September 13). Phenomenographic analysis and comparison of students’ conceptual understanding of electric and magnetic fields and the principle of superposition. Phys. Rev. Phys. Educ. Res., 17(2), 020117. Retrieved June 15, 2024, from https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevPhysEducRes.17.020117
Chicago Format
Campos, E, E. Hernandez, P. Barniol, and G. Zavala. "Phenomenographic analysis and comparison of students’ conceptual understanding of electric and magnetic fields and the principle of superposition." Phys. Rev. Phys. Educ. Res. 17, no. 2, (September 13, 2021): 020117, https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevPhysEducRes.17.020117 (accessed 15 June 2024).
MLA Format
Campos, Esmeralda, Eder Hernandez, Pablo Barniol, and Genaro Zavala. "Phenomenographic analysis and comparison of students’ conceptual understanding of electric and magnetic fields and the principle of superposition." Phys. Rev. Phys. Educ. Res. 17.2 (2021): 020117. 15 June 2024 <https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevPhysEducRes.17.020117>.
BibTeX Export Format
@article{ Author = "Esmeralda Campos and Eder Hernandez and Pablo Barniol and Genaro Zavala", Title = {Phenomenographic analysis and comparison of students’ conceptual understanding of electric and magnetic fields and the principle of superposition}, Journal = {Phys. Rev. Phys. Educ. Res.}, Volume = {17}, Number = {2}, Pages = {020117}, Month = {September}, Year = {2021} }
Refer Export Format

%A Esmeralda Campos %A Eder Hernandez %A Pablo Barniol %A Genaro Zavala %T Phenomenographic analysis and comparison of students' conceptual understanding of electric and magnetic fields and the principle of superposition %J Phys. Rev. Phys. Educ. Res. %V 17 %N 2 %D September 13, 2021 %P 020117 %U https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevPhysEducRes.17.020117 %O application/pdf

EndNote Export Format

%0 Journal Article %A Campos, Esmeralda %A Hernandez, Eder %A Barniol, Pablo %A Zavala, Genaro %D September 13, 2021 %T Phenomenographic analysis and comparison of students' conceptual understanding of electric and magnetic fields and the principle of superposition %J Phys. Rev. Phys. Educ. Res. %V 17 %N 2 %P 020117 %8 September 13, 2021 %U https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevPhysEducRes.17.020117


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