Selected Resources on Misconceptions

This list is not intended to be comprehensive, but instead aims to provide a starting point for those seeking additional reading on this topic.

Cho, H., J. B. Kahle, and F. H. Nordland. 1985. An investigation of high school biology textbooks as sources of misconceptions and difficulties in genetics and some suggestions for teaching genetics. Sci. Educ. 69(5):707-719.

Lawson, A. E. and L.D. Thompson. 1988. Formal reasoning ability and misconceptions concerning genetics and natural selection. J. Res. Sci. Teaching 25(9):733-746.

Nakhleh, M. B. 1992. Why some students don't learn chemistry. J. Chem. Educ. 69(3):191-196.

Novak, J. De, ed. 1987. Proceedings of the Second International Seminar on Misconceptions and Educational Strategies in Science and Mathematics. Ithaca, N. Y.:Cornell University.

Peters, P. 1982. Even honors students have conceptual difficulties with physics. Am. J. Physics 50:501-508.

A Private Universe. 1989. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.

Trowbridge, J. E. and J. J. Mintzes. 1988. Alternative conception in animal classification: a cross-age study. J. Res. Sci. Teaching 25(7):547-561.

Wandersee, J. H., J. J. Mintzes, and J. D. Novak. 1994. Research on alternative conceptions in science. In Handbook of Research on Science Teaching and Learning, pp.177-210. D. Gabel, ed. New York: MacMillan.

Zoller, U. 1990. Students' misunderstandings and misconceptions in college freshman chemistry. J. Res. Sci. Teaching. 27(10):1053-1065.

A bibliography of some 3,500 published items called Students' Alternative Frame works in Science is available on-line in two parts (introduction and database) and can be downloaded anonymously from an FTP server.

user id: anonymous

password: your e-mail address

directory: physlrnr

Download files "plr11" (the intro, about 25 KB) and "plr12" (the database, about 700 KB). There are two versions of each, one in Word 5.1 for Mac suffixed "mac.bin" and another for pc in Word for Windows 2.0 suffixed "pc.doc."

Dykstra, D. I., Jr. 1995. From email discussion list posted to on Feb. 15, 1995, subject Scientific misunderstandings, by David Houseman. The archive for this list is located at

The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement