Suits, Jerry P.

Committee Member

Watzky, Mureille

Committee Member

Mosher, Michael D.

Committee Member

Hydock, David


College of Natural and Health Sciences; Chemistry and Biochemistry


University of Northern Colorado

Type of Resources


Place of Publication

Greeley (Colo.)


University of Northern Colorado

Date Created



155 pages

Digital Origin

Born digital


Researchers have previously studied misconceptions of biochemistry topics such as photosynthesis, protein structure, and ATP-production. However, no studies have reported on students’ misconceptions regarding major metabolic pathways. Since learning metabolism builds on students’ prior knowledge, new material being learned will be affected by the presence of any misconceptions. Some of these misconceptions will be robust and thus hard to be replaced by the correct concepts. Thus, if students are to learn new material, these misconceptions must be diminished. This dissertation focused on the origins of these misconceptions, investigated what misconceptions students had on metabolism, and why students developed misconceptions instead of proper scientific conceptions. The ultimate goal of this study was to help students improve their conceptual understanding of general chemistry concepts that impact metabolic pathways by developing a video that targeted most of their misconceptions. This video depicted some metabolic reactions at the molecular level. Students’ misconceptions were first identified; based on them, an instructional intervention was designed to help students develop better, well-constructed conceptual schema (posttest). Evidence presented in the sample suggested the use of multimedia in helping students understand biochemistry was effective. An exploratory mixed methods design was used as a first stage to pilot any misconceptions among biochemistry students. A case study was conducted to investigate if graduate chemistry major students had any misconceptions on metabolism (n = 6). Based on the misconceptions found, the video was created to help undergraduate students develop a proper scientific understanding of the main concept targeted by this dissertation, which was chemical potential energy. The first phase of this research included quantitative validation of the instrument used (n = 45) and the second phase involved a phenomenological study where 11 graduate non-chemistry major students volunteered to participate. Many misconceptions were revealed by this study and most of them seemed to be prevalent and quite persistent.

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