Illustrating conceptual understanding in international business undergraduate writing

Authors Sue Ashley , Harmen Schaap , Elly de Bruijn
Published in Research Papers in Education
Publication date 2022
Research groups Vocational Education
Type Article

Summary

Conceptual understanding is important for professionals because a broad and deep synthesis of knowledge enables flexible and original thinking in complex problem solving. However, little is known about the appearance of conceptual understanding at the student level. This article therefore investigates the appearance of conceptual understanding in writing, since writing skills are a highly rated competency in both education and professional domains like international business. 44 students in their final year studying international business wrote literature reviews to illustrate how different levels (negligible, weak, moderate, strong and extraordinary) appeared for six components of conceptual understanding (global context, local context, business practices, practice instances, business concepts and business mechanisms). Two results are suggested. The first is that conceptual understanding in students’ writing is broad rather than deep, suggesting fragmented rather than integrated knowledge needed for conceptual understanding. The second is that different patterns of conceptual understanding emerge between and within students’ writing, both in the varying depths of conceptual understanding per component and in the different ways conceptual understanding manifests. Methodological issues and further research are discussed. Implications for education include suggestions for teachers to stimulate knowledge integration for conceptual understanding through the use of rubrics and iterative cycles.

On this publication contributed

  • Sue Ashley | Researcher | Research group Vocational Education
    Sue Ashley
    • Researcher
    • Research groups: Vocational Education
  • Elly de Bruijn | Professor | Research group Vocational Education
    Elly de Bruijn
    • Professor
    • Research groups: Vocational Education

Language English
Published in Research Papers in Education
Key words students' conceptual understanding, literature reviews, higher professional education, international business
Digital Object Identifier 10.1080/02671522.2022.2030394

Sue Ashley

Sue Ashley | Researcher | Research group Vocational Education

Sue Ashley

  • Researcher
  • Research group: Vocational Education