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College Students’ Understanding of the Measurement Skill and Error in Reports on a Small Mass Experiment
New Phys.: Sae Mulli 2019; 69: 547~558
Published online May 31, 2019;
© 2019 New Physics: Sae Mulli.

Youngrae JI, Hunkoog JHO*

1Department of Physics Education, Seoul National University, Seoul 08826, Korea
2Department of General Education, Dankook University, Cheonan 31116, Korea
Correspondence to:
Received February 20, 2019; Revised April 12, 2019; Accepted April 12, 2019.
cc This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
This study analyzed the measurement skill and error in report in a small-mass experiment conducted by 25 undergraduate students in the department of Physical Education. That experiment involved the measurement of a basic inquiry function. The experiment reports contained the principles of measurement tool development, measurement value notation, error factor analysis, and so on. The main research results are as follows. First, students qualitatively explained the principles of the tools for measuring a small mass, but they did not present numerical models, rather, they presented them analytically. Second, the students pointed out that the number of trials being small was the cause of random errors, and their use of significant figures was not well developed. Third, the factors affecting systemic errors identified by the students were more specific than those identified as affecting random errors, and systematic errors were often confused with random errors. Fourth, students had difficulty in judging the reliability of measured values, and the rationale that they used to determine the reliability of the measured values ​​was not scientific.
PACS numbers: 01.40.jc
Keywords: Small mass, Measurement, Significant figure, Systematic error, Random error

May 2019, 69 (5)
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