Department of Educational Studies Webpage

Purdue College of Education LogoDepartment of Educational Studies Logo

Ala Samarapungavan

Professor in Educational Psychology
Department of Educational Studies

Research

My research interests focus on cognition, learning, and reasoning. My research examines how social and cultural factors affect the development of thinking and knowing from childhood through adulthood. I study how classroom variables, such as teacher-student or peer interactions, task or activity structures and material supports, influence students' engagement in learning, knowledge, reasoning, and epistemic cognition. I am also interested in the connections between informal or out-of-school and formal school learning.

Education

Ph.D. University of Illinois Champaign, Educational Psychology
M.S. Delhi University, Clinical Psychology
B.S. Bombay University, Psychology


Selected Publications

  • Samarapungavan, A., Wills, J., & Bryan, L.A. (in press). Exploring the scope and boundaries of inquiry strategies: What do young learners generalize from inquiry-based science learning? In C. A. Chinn (Ed.). Conceptual Change and Transfer. Springer.
  • Jen, E., Samarapungavan, A., & Moon, S. (2015). Use Design-Based Research in Gifted Education, Gifted Child Quarterly, 59(3), 190-200.
  • Senocak, E., Samarapungavan, A., Aksoy, P., & Tosun, C. (2013).  A study on development of an instrument to determine Turkish kindergarten students’ understandings of scientific concepts and scientific inquiry process skills.  Educational Sciences: Theory and Practice, 00(0), 1-12. DOI: 10.12738/estp.2013.4.1721
  • Mantzicopoulos, P., Patrick, H., & Samarapungavan, A., (2013). Science literacy in school and home contexts: Kindergarteners’ Science Achievement and Motivation. Cognition and Instruction, 31(1), 62-119.
  • Samarapungavan, A., Patrick, H., & Mantzicopoulos, P. (2011). What Kindergarten Students Learn in Inquiry-Based Science Classrooms. Cognition and Instruction, 29(4), 416-470.
  • Chinn, C. A., Buckland, L. A., & Samarapungavan, A. (2011). Expanding the dimensions of epistemic cognition: Arguments from philosophy and psychology. Educational Psychologist, 46(3), 1-27.
  • Samarapungavan, A., Mantzicopoulos, P., Patrick, H., * French B. (2009). The development and validation of the Science Learning Assessment (SLA): A measure of kindergarten science learning. Advanced Academics, 20(3), 502-535.
  • Chinn, C. A., & Samarapungavan, A. (2009). Conceptual Change-Multiple Routes, Multiple Mechanisms: A Commentary on Ohlsson. Educational Psychologist, 44(1), 1-10.
  • Samarapungavan, A., Mantzicopoulos, P., & Patrick, H. (2008). Learning Science Through Inquiry in Kindergarten. Science Education, 92(5), 868 - 908.
  • Samarapungavan, A., Westby, E. L. & Bodner, G. M. (2006). Contextual Epistemic Development in Science: A Comparison of Chemistry Students and Research Chemists. Science Education, 90 (3), 468-495.
  • Samarapungavan, A., Westby, E. L., & Bodner, G. M. (2006). Contextual Epistemic Development in Science: A Comparison of Chemistry Students and Research Chemists. Science Education, 1-28. Published online in Wiley Interscience http://www.wileyinterscience.com/
  • Nakhleh, M., Samarapungavan, A., & Saglam, Y. (2005). Middle school students' beliefs about matter. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 42 (5), 581-612.
  • Samarapungavan, A., & Wiers, R. (1997). Children's thoughts on the origin of species: A study of explanatory coherence. Cognitive Science, 21(2), 147-177.
  • Samarapungavan, A., Vosniadou, S., & Brewer, W. F. (1996).  Thinking about the earth, sun, and moon: Indian children's cosmologies. Cognitive Development, 11, 491-521.
  • Samarapungavan, A. (1992).  Children's judgments in theory choice tasks: Scientific rationality in childhood. Cognition, 45, 1-32.

Experience

2008 -Continuing Professor in Educational Psychology, Department of Educational Studies, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN
2008-2015 (spring) Head, Department of Educational Studies, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN
1999-2007 Associate Professor in Educational Psychology, Department of Educational Studies, Purdue University
1995-1998 Assistant Professor in Educational Psychology, Department of Educational Studies, Purdue University