Honors Program


Date of this Version


Document Type



Cole, A., Moon, A., & Urbanek, M. 2024. “Oh, There’s a Problem”: Characterizing Group Discourse Surrounding Uncertainty. Undergraduate Honors Thesis. University of Nebraska-Lincoln.


Copyright Amelie Cole, Mary Urbanek, and Alena Moon 2024.


Understanding how to manage uncertainty in group settings is vital to scientists. This is especially evident in socioscientific issues, where scientists have to work together to come up with the best solution regarding an abundance of complex data. Unfortunately, creating practices that develop these skills for students is difficult for instructors, as there is little research on how students in higher education work together to handle uncertainty. In this paper, we researched how students came to consensus on a group activity embedded with uncertainty. We used a variety of different coding theories to analyze the discourse of the argumentation. This allowed us to identify two major parameters to characterize group discourse surrounding uncertainty: the level of engagement with the uncertainty, and the agency of the students in a group.