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Clark A. Chinn

CHAIR, DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY, Professor, and Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs
Educational Psychology
10 Seminary Place Room 337 New Brunswick, NJ 08901

My research teams are current working on two interconnected lines of research. In the first line of research (the Epistemic Education project), we are exploring new approaches to conceptualizing and investigating epistemic cognition. Our goal is then to develop instructional methods that help students reason more effectively in authentic situations such as reasoning about information found on the Internet. The second project is the PRACCIS project (Promoting Reasoning and Conceptual Change In Science), an ongoing collaboration with Ravit Golan Duncan.  In this project, we investigate curricula that promote growth in reasoning in middle school science classes, with a focus on scaffolds that support this growth. We have developed curricula that are aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards and that promote conceptual change and model-based reasoning in the life sciences. You can learn more about this project at www.praccis.org.   More information can be also found under the “research initiatives” link below.

• Ph.D., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
• American Educational Research Association
• American Psychological Association
• American Psychological Association, Division 15 (Educational Psychology)
• Cognitive Science Society
• European Association for Research on Learning and Instruction
• International Society of the Learning Sciences
• National Association for Research on Science Teaching
• Society for Text and Discourse

  • Expertise & Research Interest

    Epistemic cognition


    Learning through inquiry

    Conceptual change

    Classroom research

  • Research Work With Students

    My research focuses broadly on instructional methods for promoting better thinking and reasoning among students. I have collaborated with Ravit Duncan on two NSF grants investigating methods of teaching that promote model-based inquiry practices among middle-school science students. We are currently investigating in quasi-experimental classroom studies the effects of different methods for scaffolding student reasoning. More information about this project can be found at this site: www.praccis.org.

    In a closely related line of research, I have been working on what epistemic cognition is and how it can be enhanced. In this work, I have sought to bring ideas from the fields of epistemology and philosophy of science to improve our understanding of epistemic cognition. If you would like to know more about this line of research, please email me.

  • Recent & Selected Publications

    Barzilai, S., & Chinn, C. A. (in press). On the goals of epistemic education: Promoting apt epistemic performance.  Journal of the Learning Sciences.Chinn, C. A. (2017).  Promoting systems understanding.  Instructional Science, 45, 123-135.

    Chinn, C. A., Duncan, R. G., & Rinehart, R. W. (2018).  Epistemic design: Design to promote transferable epistemic growth in the PRACCIS project.  In E. Manalo, Y. Uesaka, & C. A. Chinn (Eds.),  Promoting spontaneous use of learning and reasoning strategies: Theory, research, and practice for effective transfer.  New York: Routledge.

    Manalo, E., Uesaka, Y., & Chinn, C. A. (Eds.). (2018). Promoting spontaneous use of learning and reasoning strategies: Theory, research, and practice for effective transfer.  New York: Routledge

    Chinn, C. A. (2018). Modeling, explanation, argumentation, and conceptual change. In T. G. Amin & O. Levrini (Eds.), Converging perspectives on conceptual change (pp. 206-226). London: Routledge.

    Chinn, C. A., & Rinehart, R. W. (2016). Advances in research on sourcing–source credibility and reliable processes for producing knowledge claims.  Reading and Writing, 29, 1701-1717.

    Rinehart, R. W., Duncan, R. G., & Chinn, C. A., Atkins, T., & DiBenedetti, J. (2016).  Critical design decisions for successful model-based inquiry in science classrooms. International Journal of Designs for Learning, 7, 17-40.

    Chinn, C. A., & Rinehart, R. W. (2016).  Epistemic cognition and philosophy: Developing a new framework for epistemic cognition.  In J. A. Greene, W. A. Sandoval, & I. Bråten (Eds), Handbook of epistemic cognition (pp. 460-478). New York: Routledge.

    Duncan, R. G., & Chinn, C. A. (2016).  New directions for research on argumentation: Insights from the AIR framework for epistemic cognition. German Journal of Educational Psychology, 30, 155-161.

    Hmelo-Silver, C. E., & Chinn, C. A. (2016). Collaborative learning. In E. Anderman & L. Corno (Eds.), Handbook of educational psychology (3rd ed.) (pp. 349-363). New York: Routledge.

    Rinehart, R. W., Duncan, R. G., & Chinn, C. A. (2014). A scaffolding suite to support evidence-based modeling and argumentation. Science Scope, pp. 70-77.

    Chinn, C. A., Rinehart, R. W., & Buckland, L. A. (2014). Epistemic cognition and evaluating information: Applying the AIR model of epistemic cognition. In D. Rapp and J. Braasch (Eds.), Processing inaccurate information: Theoretical and applied perspectives from cognitive science and the educational sciences(pp. 425-453).Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

    Rogat, T. K., Witham, S., A., & Chinn, C. A. (2014). Teachers’ autonomy-relevant practices within an inquiry-based science curricular context: Extending the range of academically significant autonomy-supportive practices.  Teachers College Record, 116, 1-46.

    Chinn, C. A., & Sherin, B. L. (2014).  Microgenetic methods. In R. Keith Sawyer (Ed.), The Cambridge handbook of the learning sciences (2nd Ed.) (pp. 171-190). New York: Cambridge University Press.

    Chinn, C. A., Duncan, R. G., Dianovsky, M., & Rinehart, R. (2013). Promoting conceptual change through inquiry. In S. Vosniadou (Ed.) International Handbook of Conceptual Change (2nd ed.) (pp. 539-559). New York: Routledge.Chinn, C. A., Duncan, R. G., Dianovsky, M., & Rinehart, R. (2013). Promoting conceptual change through inquiry. In S. Vosniadou (Ed.) International Handbook of Conceptual Change (2nd ed.) (pp. 539-559). New York: Routledge.

    Hmelo-Silver, C. E., Chinn, C. A., Chan, C. K. K., & O’Donnell, A. M. (Eds.) (2013). International Handbook of Collaborative Learning. New York: Taylor & Francis.

    Chinn, C. A., & Clark, D. B. (2013). Learning through collaborative argumentation. In C. E. Hmelo-Silver, C. A. Chinn, C. K. K. Chan, & A. M. O’Donnell (Eds.) International Handbook of Collaborative Learning (pp. 314-332). New York: Taylor & Francis.

    Sinatra, G. M., & Chinn, C. A. (2012). Thinking and reasoning in science: Promoting epistemic conceptual change. In K. R. Harris, S. Graham, & T. Urdan (Eds.), APA Educational psychology handbook: Vol. 3. Application to learning and teaching (pp. 257-282). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

    Chinn, C. A., & Buckland, L. A. (2012). Model-based instruction: Fostering change in evolutionary conceptions and in epistemic practices. In K. S. Rosengren, S. K. Brem, E. M. Evans, & G. M. Sinatra (Eds.). Evolution challenges: Integrating research and practice in teaching and learning about evolution (pp. 211-232). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    Pluta, W. J., Chinn, C. A., & Duncan, R. G. (2011). Learners’ epistemic criteria for good scientific models. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 48, 486-511. DOI: 10.1002/tea.20415

    Chinn, C. A., Buckland, L. A., & Samarapungavan, A. (2011). Expanding the dimensions of epistemic cognition: Arguments from philosophy and psychology. Educational Psychologist, 46, 141-167.

    Duncan, R. G., Freidenreich, H. B., Chinn, C. A., & Bausch, A. (2011). Promoting middle-school students’ understanding of molecular genetics. Research in Science Education, 41, 147-167. DOI: 10.1007/s11165-009-9150-0

    Chinn, C. A., & Buckland, L. A. (2011). Differences in epistemic practices among scientists, young earth creationists, intelligent design creationists, and the scientist creationists of Darwin’s era. In R. Taylor and M. Ferrari (Eds.), Epistemology and science education: Understanding the evolution vs. intelligent design controversy (pp. 38-76). New York: Taylor & Francis.

    Chinn, C. A., & Samarapungavan, A. (2009). Conceptual change—multiple routes, multiple mechanisms: A commentary on Ohlsson (2009). Educational Psychologist, 44, 47-57.

    Chinn, C. A., & Malhotra, B. A. (2002). Epistemologically authentic reasoning in schools: A theoretical framework for evaluating inquiry tasks. Science Education, 86, 175-218.

    Chinn, C. A., & Samarapungavan, A. (2008). Learning to use scientific models: Multiple dimensions of conceptual change. In R. A. Duschl & R. E. Grandy (Eds.), Teaching scientific inquiry: Recommendations for research and implementation (pp. 191-225). Rotterdam, NL: Sense Publishers.

  • Honors & Awards

    Fellow of the American Psychological Association, Division 15 (Educational Psychology) (2017)

    Fellow of the American Educational Research Association  (2016)

  • Files
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