Representation of Research Paradigms as a Function of Familiarity with Research Domains
INSTITUTE FOR PERCEPTION RVO-TNO SOESTERBERG (NETHERLANDS)
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The purpose of the present study was to determine how the content or quality of the representation of knowledge of experimental design improves as a function of problem familiarity. The present study systematically varied problem familiarity for each subject separately. Five research domains were chosen for each subject and from each domain a journal article was chosen. One sentence describing the question to be answered in the article was extracted from each of the five articles and presented to the subject. Choice of the correct paradigm was assessed by asking the subjects to classify a particular research question as being of a certain type. The content of the paradigm was assessed by asking subjects to write down as many characteristics for this type of research as they could. Thirty-four subjects participated in the experiment. The results showed that only when subjects were highly familiar with a research area did they list highly specific features. When confronted with problems only slightly outside their area of expertise, experts must rely upon general design knowledge and general knowledge about what are relevant features for the novel area. The present study has also shown that these types of knowledge are acquired rather soon after one has specialized in a particular ares, given that no differences were found between subjects with three years of experience and subjects with thirty years of experience. Memory, Categorization, Problem solving, Expert- novice differences, Transfer of training.
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