New book chapter on Students’ Understandings of Electricity and Magnetism

Congratulations to deputy Director Dr Paul van Kampen on his recent insightful and useful chapter on students’ understanding of electricity and magnetism co-authored with Professor Mieke de Cock of KU Leuven, n the the International Handbook of Physics Education Research: Learning Physics


The research reviewed spans all age groups and includes work carried out within a wide variety of frameworks. It starts with students’ ideas about electric charge, attraction and repulsion, charging, polarization, and magnetic interactions primarily from a qualitative viewpoint. It then describes research related to students adopting a more quantitative approach: electrostatic and magnetostatic force and field; the superposition principle; electric potential, electric potential energy, and capacitance. Sections on representations and commonly used diagnostic tests serve as a bridge to more advanced topics that often also require more advanced mathematical techniques such as integration and vector calculus: Gauss’ Law, Ampère’s Law, and Faraday’s Law. Throughout the chapter the authors highlight where they have found gaps in the literature.

Read more here: or contact Dr van Kampen if you have trouble accessing a copy.