A survey on the content beliefs of professors teaching organic chemistry


  • Jolanda Hermanns Zentrum für Lehrerbildung und Bildungsforschung
  • David Keller University of Potsdam, Centre for teacher training and educational research




Background: The content beliefs of preservice chemistry teachers on the topic of organic chemistry were investigated; their content beliefs depend on their own school days. However, a survey on the content beliefs of their teachers at univer-sity was not conducted although those beliefs should influence the teaching at university. Purpose: The content beliefs of university professors on the topic organic chemistry should be investigated in order to gain insights on those beliefs. It can be assumed that those beliefs are fundamental for the organization of courses and lectures for students.

Sample/Setting: 271 professors (all professors teaching organic chemistry in Germany) were invited; 22.9 % participated, but only 18.8 % completed the questionnaire. Only these results were used for the discussion of the survey. Design

Methods: An online questionnaire was developed. This consisted of closed and open items on the topics and con-cepts of organic chemistry. The data of the questionnaire were transferred to SPSS. For the answers to the items that were rated with the Likert scale, frequencies were calculated. The answers to the open questions were summarized using the method of qualitative content analysis.

Results: Most topics were rated as being important for students at school or at university. Unfortunately, the concepts were rated less high than the topics. Whether this indicates that the professors focus more on topics than on concepts in their lectures should be investigated in another study.

Conclusions/Implications for classroom practice and future research: The use and importance of concepts on organic chemistry in teaching should be investigated.

Keywords: content beliefs, teacher education, organic chemistry

Author Biography

Jolanda Hermanns, Zentrum für Lehrerbildung und Bildungsforschung

Research assistant

Zentrum für Lehrerbildung und Bildungsforschung

Universität Potsdam