npsm 새물리 New Physics : Sae Mulli

pISSN 0374-4914 eISSN 2289-0041


Research Paper

New Phys.: Sae Mulli 2018; 68: 1231-1239

Published online November 30, 2018

Copyright © New Physics: Sae Mulli.

Measurement and Interpretation of Undergraduate Students' Writing about the Experiments of the Photoelectric Effect

Hunkoog JHO*1, Youngrae JI2

1 Department of General Education, Dankook University, Cheonan 31116, Korea
2 Department of Physics Education, Seoul National University, Seoul 08826, Korea


Received: September 18, 2018; Revised: October 15, 2018; Accepted: October 16, 2018

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 aimed at examining undergraduate students' writing about experiments related to the photoelectric effect and giving some implications for experiment education. Thus, this study analyzed 26 students' reports about three kinds of experiments: measuring Planck's constant, comparing the photocurrent and the photovoltage across the intensity of light, and comparing the photocurrent and the photovoltage across the frequency of light. In the measurements, less than 25% of the students expressed the data to the correct number of significant figures even though two-thirds of the students successfully obtained the data given in the manual. In terms of interpretation, the students were not aware of the physical meanings of the detailed parts in the graphs. Even though over 50% of the students drew a line relating photocurrent to voltage, no students compared the theoretical to the empirical data or made a judgment as to whether of not the background theory really fit the experiment. The research findings showed that insufficient knowledge and skills for physics inquiry may be an obstacle in performing the experiments well.

Keywords: Photoelectric effect, Scientific inquiry, Experiment report, Physics experiment

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