Entomology, Department of


Date of this Version



Journal of Science Education and Technology (2012) 22: 509-521. DOI: 10.1007/s10956-012-9410-z.


Copyright 2013, Springer. Used by permission.


The purpose of the study was to determine whether undergraduate students receiving web-based instruction based on traditional, key character, or classification instruction differed in their performance of insect identification tasks. All groups showed a significant improvement in insect identifications on pre- and post-two-dimensional picture specimen quizzes. The study also determined student performance on insect identification tasks was not as good as for family-level identification as compared to broader insect orders and arthropod classification identification tasks. Finally, students erred significantly more by misidentification than misspelling specimen names on prepared specimen quizzes. Results of this study support that short web-based insect identification exercises can improve insect identification performance. Also included is a discussion of how these results can be used in teaching and future research on biological identification.