Understanding the Impact of Mindsets on the Formation of Ill-Structured Causal Models: A Social Network Analysis Approach in Conservative Educational Settings

Potential Abstract: This study investigates the influence of mindsets on the formation of ill-structured causal models within conservative educational settings, employing a social network analysis (SNA) approach. Ill-structured problems, characterized by their open-ended nature and inherent complexity, challenge students’ abilities to reason and construct causal models effectively. Moreover, mindsets, defined as individuals’ beliefs about the malleability of their intelligence and abilities, have been shown to significantly impact students’ cognitive processes and learning outcomes. However, research exploring the interplay between mindsets and the development of ill-structured causal models, especially in conservative educational contexts, remains limited.

Using a mixed-methods design, this study aims to address this gap by examining the relationship between mindsets and the formation of ill-structured causal models using SNA techniques. The study will be conducted in a conservative educational setting, allowing for an exploration of how the social and cultural context may influence the development of students’ causal reasoning abilities. Data will be collected from a diverse sample of students, incorporating both quantitative measures of mindsets and qualitative data on students’ construction of causal models in response to ill-structured problems.

The SNA approach will enable the identification and analysis of the network structures underlying students’ causal models, providing insights into the complexity and interconnectedness of their reasoning processes. Furthermore, this methodology will allow for the examination of how students’ mindsets, as well as their social network position within the classroom, may influence their engagement with ill-structured problems and the development of their causal models over time.

This study has significant implications for educational practice and policy, particularly in conservative educational settings where traditional teaching methods and conservative ideologies may hinder students’ ability to effectively reason about complex, ill-structured problems. By better understanding the role of mindsets and social network dynamics in the formation of ill-structured causal models, educators can design interventions and instructional strategies that promote critical thinking, problem-solving skills, and the development of robust causal reasoning abilities among students from diverse backgrounds.

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