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Using cluster analysis to study the modelling abilities of engineering undergraduate students: a case study

  • Authors: Fazio, C.; Battaglia, O. R.; Di Paola, B.; Persano Adorno, D.
  • Publication year: 2016
  • Type: Proceedings (TIPOLOGIA NON ATTIVA)
  • OA Link:


In this contribution we discuss the application of a quantitative, non-hierarchical clustering method to make sense of the answers that 120 engineering undergraduates students at the University of Palermo, Italy, gave to four open-ended questions on the meaning of the modeling processes in Science. We will show that the use of non-hierarchical analysis allows us to easily separate students into groups that can be recognized and characterized by common traits in students’ answers without any prior knowledge on the part of the researcher of what form those groups would take (unbiased classification).