A Study of Hybridization Understanding from Algorithmic to Conceptual – Is Algorithmic an End Point for Students?

This paper details the results of a qualitative study examining the reasoning students use to solve common hybridization theory assessment questions and their mental images of hybrid and atomic orbitals. The data were collected through think-aloud interviews as students worked through a five-question questionnaire. Prior to recruitment, the study was deemed to be exempt from IRB review by Sterling IRB. Prior to start of interviews participants provided verbal consent. The resulting transcripts and answers were analyzed following the practices of grounded theory and constant comparative analysis. Coding schemes can be found in the Supplementary Information section. Results, conclusions, and implications for teaching are presented in the manuscript.