Disciplinary discernment in astronomy education: Hertzsprung-Russell-diagrams

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract


This paper aim at investigating what astronomy students and experts discern from the multitude of different disciplinary affordances available in Hertzsprung-Russell (HR) diagrams. HR-diagrams are central to all of astronomy and astrophysics and used extensively in teaching. However, knowledge about what students and experts discern from these disciplinary representations are not well known at present. HR-diagrams include many disciplinary affordances that may be hidden to the novice student, hence we aim at investigating and describing what astronomy students at different university levels (introductory, undergraduate, graduate), and astronomy educators/professors, discern from such representation – referred to as disciplinary discernment. Data from a web based questionnaire were analysed using the Anatomy of Disciplinary Discernment (ADD) framework by Eriksson et al.(2014). Preliminary results show (1) the developmental nature of disciplinary discernment from the HR-diagram by the participants and (2) the large discrepancy between disciplinary discernment by the astronomy educators and their students. We describe and discuss the qualitative nature of these differences and implications for teaching and learning astronomy.

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2017
EventESERA 2017, Dublin, Ireland -
Duration: 1980-Jan-01 → …


ConferenceESERA 2017, Dublin, Ireland
Period80-01-01 → …

Swedish Standard Keywords

  • Didactics (50302)
  • Astronomy, Astrophysics and Cosmology (10305)


  • astronomy higher education
  • disciplinary discernment
  • hr-diagram


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