Research in Science Education

, Volume 40, Issue 2, pp 223–238 | Cite as

Questions About Physics: The Case of a Turkish ‘Ask a Scientist’ Website

  • Sevda Yerdelen-Damar
  • Ali Eryılmaz


The physics questions submitted to an ‘ask a scientist’ website were classified with respect to field of interest in physics, type of requested information in the question (factual, explanatory, etc.), and motivation for asking the question (applicative or non--applicative). In addition, differences in the number of females’ and males’ questions in these classifications were determined. Analysis of 995 physics questions submitted to the website indicated that modern physics questions (30.7%) were the most frequent while vibrations and wave motion questions (3.3%) were the least frequent. More than half of the questions (57.8%) were submitted to request factual information. Motivation to ask a question was inferred from the question, and was generally not related to direct and/or personal application. There were obvious differences in the number of questions asked by females and males: 84.7% of questions were asked by males while 15.3% were asked by females. However, significant gender differences were not observed in field of interest in physics, type of information requested in the question, and motivation for asking the question.


Physics education Physics questions Interest Gender 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Yüzüncü Yıl UniversityVanTurkey
  2. 2.Faculty of Education, Department of Secondary Science and Mathematics EducationMiddle East Technical UniversityAnkaraTurkey

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