Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Psychology & Higher Education

First Committee Member

LeAnn D. Putney

Second Committee Member

Ralph E. Reynolds

Third Committee Member

Gwen Marchand

Fourth Committee Member

Michael Nussbaum

Fifth Committee Member

MaryKay Orgill

Number of Pages



Analogies are ubiquitous during instruction in science classrooms, yet research about the effectiveness of using analogies has produced mixed results. An aspect seldom studied is a model of instruction when using analogies. The few existing models for instruction with analogies have not often been examined quantitatively. The Teaching With Analogies (TWA) model (Glynn, 1991) is one of the models frequently cited in the variety of research about analogies. The TWA model outlines steps for instruction, including the step of explicitly mapping the features of the source to the target. An experimental study was conducted to examine the effects of explicitly mapping the features of the source and target in an analogy during computer-based instruction about electrical circuits. Explicit mapping was compared to no mapping and to a control with no analogy.

Participants were ninth- and tenth-grade biology students who were each randomly assigned to one of three conditions (no analogy module, analogy module, or explicitly mapped analogy module) for computer-based instruction. Subjects took a pre-test before the instruction, which was used to assign them to a level of previous knowledge about electrical circuits for analysis of any differential effects. After the instruction modules, students took a post-test about electrical circuits. Two weeks later, they took a delayed post-test.

No advantage was found for explicitly mapping the analogy. Learning patterns were the same, regardless of the type of instruction. Those who knew the least about electrical circuits, based on the pre-test, made the most gains. After the two-week delay, this group maintained the largest amount of their gain.

Implications exist for science education classrooms, as analogy use should be based on research about effective practices. Further studies are suggested to foster the building of research-based models for classroom instruction with analogies.


Analogy; Analogy in science education; Mapping; Science – Study and teaching (Secondary)


Educational Methods | Educational Psychology | Science and Mathematics Education

File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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