Science & Education

, Volume 19, Issue 3, pp 283–303 | Cite as

The Interplay Between Content, Expressions and Their Meaning When Expressing Understanding

  • C. Alvegård
  • E. Anderberg
  • L. Svensson
  • T. Johansson


In the intentional-expressive approach, a development within the phenomenographic tradition, an alternative view of the role of language is adopted. The approach focuses the learner’s use of expressions and intended meanings, in relation to his/her conception of a phenomenon. The article presents empirical findings from a study made at a university of technology using a special dialogue structure. The aim of the dialogue is to capture the individual’s way of reflecting on the interplay between the expressions he or she uses, their intended meanings, and his or her conception of the phenomenon. Twenty-four students participated and were presented an everyday situation involving the physical motion of a body. The results show that the interplay was ambiguous and dynamic. The relationships between expression and meaning were much weaker than between meaning and conception. In learning situations, this may cause problems concerning students’ knowledge formation, since a stable relationship is often taken for granted in learning and teaching.


Gravitational Force Conceptual Change Gravitational Acceleration Technical Term Intended Meaning 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This project has financial support from Swedish Research Council.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. Alvegård
    • 1
  • E. Anderberg
    • 1
  • L. Svensson
    • 2
  • T. Johansson
    • 3
  1. 1.School of Education and CommunicationJönköping UniversityJönköpingSweden
  2. 2.Department of EducationLund UniversityLundSweden
  3. 3.Department of PhilosophyUppsala UniversityUppsalaSweden

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