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Ask a Scientist Website: Trends in Chemistry Questions in Turkey

Elmas, Ridvan
Akın Çelebi, Fatma
Geban, Ömer
The purpose of this study was to investigate questions submitted by users of a website that is popular with Turkish students learning about chemistry and thereby to inform teachers about trends in student interest. The website contains articles and information about chemistry and encourages visitors to "Ask a Scientist" questions about the subject. Over 1,500 enquiries, submitted over a 5-year period between 2006 and 2011, were classified according to field of interest in chemistry, type of information requested in the question, and motivation for asking the question. The most popular category was basics of chemistry (27.1 %), followed by nuclear chemistry and chemistry of the elements (19.1 %). We found that 37.3 % of the questions sought factual information and 20.1 % explanatory information. Our analysis of enquirers' motivation for asking their questions indicated that 55.6 % were asked for non-applicative, while 26.8 % were asked for applicative reasons. With respect to gender, males asked 54.44 % of the questions.