An exploration of social regulation of learning during scientific argumentation discourse

Nikki G. Lobczowski, Elizabeth M. Allen, Carla M. Firetto, Jeffrey A. Greene, P. Karen Murphy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Argumentation and scientific discourse are essential aspects of science education and inquiry in the 21st century. Student groups often struggle to enact these critical science skills, particularly with challenging content or tasks. Social regulation of learning research addresses the ways groups attempt to navigate such struggles by collectively planning, monitoring, controlling, and reflecting upon their learning in collaborative settings. Such regulation and argumentation can also elicit socioemotional responses and interactions. However, little is known regarding how regulation processes and socioemotional interactions manifest among students involved in small-group discourse about scientific phenomena. As such, in this qualitative study, we explored social regulation of learning, scientific argumentation discourse, and socioemotional interactions in the discussions of two groups of high school physics students (n = 7, n = 6). We found key qualitative distinctions between the two groups, including how they enacted planning activities, their emphasis on challenging other's ideas versus building shared understanding, and how socioemotional interactions drove discourse. Commonalities across groups included how regulation initiation related to discourse, as well as how the difficulty of the content hindered, and teacher support augmented, the enactment of social regulation. Finally, we found overlapping regulation and discourse codes that provide a foundation for future work.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number101925
JournalContemporary Educational Psychology
StatePublished - Oct 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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