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Fall 2007


SEYS 777 Research Seminar in Science Education (I)


Office location:  PH 150P                                                           
Office hours: Wednesday  and Thursday 4-5 PM & by appointment                                                                        
(718) 997-5150 SEYS
 (718) 997-5066 Voicemail
(718)997-5152 Fax
Web site:

 Science Education Research Checklist

A. COURSE DESCRIPTION – 2 hr. plus conf.; 3 cr. Prerequisites: Initial Certificate. Matriculation in MS in Secondary Education and completion of  a minimum of 20 credits in the MS degree program.


This course is offered by the Science Education Program in the Department of Secondary Education, part of the Education Unit at Queens College. The Education Unit seeks to promote Equity, Excellence, and Ethics in urban education and is committed to developing competencies in all teacher preparation and other education professional candidates that will enable them to:

 At the end of this course, graduate students will have demonstrated competency in the following  7 areas:

 1.     Understanding the nature of social/scientific research and the scientific processes

      applied in research. (Excellence)

2.     Understanding contrasting types of research and sources of data used in each type.

      (Excellence, Ethics)

3.  Selecting and refining a research proposal. (Equity, Excellence, Ethics) Note: Research proposals commonly embody one or more Core Values.

4.   Locating published research. (Excellence)

5.   Interpreting and summarizing published research. (Excellence)

6.   Presenting the results of a review of published research. (Equity, Excellence, Ethics)

7.   Writing a review paper in an area of published research. (Excellence, Ethics)

 This course is the first of two consecutive courses in educational research techniques and research study findings in science education. The purpose of the courses is to introduce graduates to how tools of research are used to look more carefully at causes and effects in teaching and learning. In the process, participants will learn about research conducted in science education and select an area of interest to investigate.   

We will discuss common models used in research.   Through examining published studies in science/instruction in middle and high school, we will learn to recognize different types of goals and outcomes of  each model.  Quantitative studies that rely on numerical data analysis and qualitative studies that rely more heavily on observational, descriptive measures will be reviewed and analyzed. There are interesting studies in every area related to teaching and learning.

Participants may conduct an alternative to a classical research study in Semester 2 (e.g. an action research project) based on approval by the instructor. 


Text  (Required):

 Mertler,C.A.and Charles,C.M. (2008). Introduction to Educational Research - 6e. New York: Longman

 Galvin, J.L. (2006). Writing Literature Reviews  - 3e. Los Angeles CA: Pryczak Publishing


 Gabel, D.L. (1993). Handbook of Research on Science Teaching and

               Learning. New York: Macmillan.      

Burnaford,G.,Fischer,J.,Hobson,D. (1996). Teachers Doing Research:

               Practical Possibilities. New Jersey: Erlbaum Asso.

Glass, G., Hopkins, K. (1996). Statistical Methods in Education

               and Psychology. Boston: Allyn and Bacon. 


     * A computer workshop may replace one class based on need.

 Active class participation in discussions of focus topics is expected.  Excessive absences will result in a half-letter drop of the final grade. 

Week - Date



 1  8/29 Course overview

             Self-introductions; research interests


 2  9/5  Resources in educational research  

     Rosenthal Library Rosenthal 223; Mr Manny Senudo, Suzanne Li, Guest Lecturer. Assign:

     Read Chaps 1: Education research & 4: Locating published research. Complete workshop

assignment. Due 9/26



 3   9/19  Interpreting and summarizing published research - Chaps. 5  & 8 with

      broad overview discussion of statistical analysis. Read pp. 330-349  in



 4  9/26 Conducting a review of literature – Read Gavin, Chaps. 1-3; Writing literature reviews

     Assignment:  Workshop paper from 9/5. A written analysis of a research study.  


5  10/3  An overview to types of educational research and data sources - Chap. 2; 

     Assignment: Complete developmental activity 1-5, p.38. Studies completed in SEYS 778.


 6  10/10  Selecting, refining and proposing a topic for research - Chap. 3

     Assignment: Prepare a list of possible areas of research interests. Considerations: What

     aspects of the topic/problem interest you? What are you hoping to find out? What use will the

     study be to you as a teacher?  Policy review of protocols for conducting research on human



7  10/17  Designing a research project - Chap. 6

     A Private Universe

     Assignment: Draft proposal. Prepare a clear, succinct, worded title of your  

     study. Include a description of the research (problem you are

     investigating, type of research it will be, a working hypothesis (if

     needed) and specific ways you plan to locate biographical information for

     your literature review. Include a list of keywords, terms (DESCRIPTORS)

     used in your search to locate studies or published data. Present a 5-

     minute description to class for discussion and feedback. HAND IN.


8   10/24 - Research Project Updates, feedback and discussion


9   10/31  Example of historical research topic -  Flock of Dodos, pick team assignments


10  11/7  Types of research studies - Experimental, quasi-experimental,  and

     single subject research - Chap. 13; Mixed-methods research designs – Chap. 14

     Team 1* activities     

      Qualitative research methods;

      Ethnographic & historical studies; Chap. 10 - Team 2*  

      Survey research ; Chap. 11 - Team 3* activities


11 11/14 Types of Research Studies - Types of research studies – Non-experimental quantitative research - Chap. 12

      Correlational studies - Team 4* activities

      Action Research and Evaluation Research - Chap. 15

      Team 5* activities

      Statistics - Team 6* activities (Book appendix)

      Trouble-shooting - Seminar on problems or questions regarding your research area or

      topic of investigation. Due: Revision of 10/17  proposal  and bibliographic citations found (to


11/20/07 – NO CLASS on 11/21 - Thanksgiving Recess

12- 11/28 - TBA and Work on literature review in class and proposals 

13- 15 11/28,12/5, 12/12  Presentation of oral summations of literature review and proposal, with

      discussion, questions and feedback.  Refer to schedule (TBA). Review of Literature paper due

      week of Finals.

Scoring guidelines for literature review presentations

15  12/19 /07  IMPORTANT:  WE WILL MEET FROM 6:15PM TO 8:15PM Finals Week – Review of the Literature, due.  No extensions.


     *  Teams and assignments will be formed after the start of the semester.



1. Preparation and participation.  Due to the nature of the research seminar, preparation and

    participation in weekly discussions are vital to ensure successful attainment of objectives this

    semester.  Chapter readings are listed for each week. Additional assignments will be completed

    through team presentations. Attendance mandatory.                                       15 points

2. Research proposal. A research proposal is a description of the research or study you plan to     

    conduct in Semester 2.  Generally a proposal includes: a title that clearly describes the intended

    research or study, a discussion of the research sampling, design, methodology and calendar

    schedule for carrying out the research or study, and a description of how the data will be

    analyzed. In some cases, a hypothesis is included that defines the study more precisely. The

    shaping of your research proposal will be discussed and assessed throughout the coming

    months.                                                                                                                     10 points        

3. Presentation of review of research.   Prior to the end of the semester, you will have

    opportunities to present the results of your literature search and proposal to your peers for

    feedback and refinement. A formal presentation is given in the last weeks of the first semester.

                                                                                                                                    25 points

4. A 15+ page review of research paper summarizing the most recent developments in an area of

    interest to you. In research parlance, this paper is called a review of the literature. The purpose

    of this bibliographic-cited research is to give the researcher (you) a deeper understanding of the

    findings in a field of research or professional interest.  The review should cite a minimum of 10

    related articles (studies) and include an overview of major findings, conclusions and/or points

    of dispute in the chosen area of research.                                                                   50 points


Accordingly, a final grade in this course is based on the following criteria: 

   Timely completion of required assignments                             15

   Research proposal                                                                 10
   Review of the literature presentation                                       25
   Review of literature paper                                                      50

                        Total:                                                               100



Attendance at a professional science teacher meeting is required at the New York Academy of Sciences (NYC), Saturday Science Conference (NYC) or research-centered center.  Written

analysis – 1 page. Suggested outline (format) will be distributed.



Academic dishonesty is prohibited in The City University of New York and is punishable by penalties, including failing grades, suspension, and expulsion as provided at:


H. ADA Statement

Students with disabilities needing academic accommodation should: (1) register with and provide documentation to the Special Services Office, Kiely 171; (2) bring a letter to the instructor indicating the need for accommodation and what type.  This should be done during the first week of class.  For more information about services available to Queens students contact:  Pratik Patel, Special Services Office;  171 Kiely Hall;  718 997-5870 (8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.). E-mail address:



All teacher education programs in New York State undergo periodic reviews by accreditation agencies and the state education department.  For these purposes, samples of students’ work are made available to those professionals conducting the review.  Student anonymity is assured under these circumstances.  If you do not wish to have your work made available for these purposes, inform the professor know before the start of the second  class. 




Some topics of potential research interest:


Teacher instruction and:


Cooperative learning in science,  science achievement (any or all grades), cognitive development and learning, constructivist pedagogy or related areas: inquiry/discovery lessons in science, critical thinking or problem-solving, student-centered performance assessment, computers/learning technologies in science instruction, alternate teaching methods (e.g. “workshop model”),  student learning styles, team taught-approach to science instruction, reading/writing in science, basic skills and science learning, special needs students, diverse student populations.


Issues in science education:  


Science standards and practice in science education,  correlations between variables like classroom environment, student attitude, gender, teacher factors, student background,  student performance, cultural factors, issues in science curriculum reform, gender inequities in science, inquiry, discovery and/or "hands-on" science and achievement, the effect of National Science Education Standards on science instruction and achievement ((7-12), effects of instructional approach and learning styles on student perceptions and achievement.


Topics or issues in science to enrich the secondary curriculum:


New frontiers in…(e.g. biotechnology  research, stem cell research);  Ethnics and science (e.g. cloning );  History of science(e.g. Newtonian and quantum mechanics);  The nature and philosophy of science (e.g. Creationism or Evolution?, Paranormal phenomena);   Other (see me).



Note:  Topics are broad categories that may contain an array of  suitable subtopics to investigate.  Individual studies will be more narrowly focused and have a deeper foundation in one area.