Misconceptions in circuit analysis have been investigated by many researchers. However, we
could not find a literature review from the last 20 years. We conducted a systematic literature
review on circuit analysis misconceptions from the last 20 years, finding 15 articles meeting the
search criteria, relevance, and accessibility. In total, the articles identified 20 misconceptions
(e.g., term confusion in physics, algebraic manipulations, and failure to consider local changes
in context of entire circuit), which we grouped into 8 misconception categories (e.g., Physics,
Math, Sequential reasoning, and Application of Ohm's Law). We also created a conceptual
dependency graph to help point out foundational misconceptions within the misconception
categories, yielding Physics, Math and Application of Ohm's Law as the most foundational
misconceptions. Physics had 5 misconceptions (the most) and in total cited by 7 articles. Within
Physics, the most cited was term confusion, cited by 4 articles. Math had 2 misconceptions,
cited by 3 articles. Application of Ohm's Law had 2 misconceptions, cited by 7 articles.
Interestingly, none of the articles attempted to address misconceptions. Thus, there appears to
be a need for research that addresses misconceptions. We might suggest focusing on
prevalently reported misconceptions, such as physics term confusion and appropriate
application of Ohm's Law.
Nikitha Sambamurthy completed her Ph.D. in engineering education at Purdue University in 2017. Nikitha is the engineering content lead at zyBooks, a startup that develops interactive, web-native textbooks for college courses in STEM (science, technology,
Alex Edgcomb is Sr. Software Engineer at zyBooks, a startup spun-off from UC Riverside and acquired by Wiley. zyBooks develops interactive, web-native learning materials for STEM courses. Alex actively studies and publishes the efficacy of web-native learning materials on student outcomes.
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