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SEYS 777 Home

Queens College/CUNY Education Unit


Fall 2012

SEYS 777 Research Seminar in Science Education (I)

If I am online, I will be be glad to answer your questions.  Type your  name and your question in the chat box below. 

Week 1  Kiely 115
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 Science Education Research Checklist

Want to speak with a Science Education advisor? If I am online I will be glad to help.  Click in the Google chat below.  Please enter your first and last name and email address so I know who I am speaking with.


Brian Murfin, Ph.D., 

Office:  Powdermaker Hall Room 135C, 
Office Hours
Tuesday 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm
Thursday 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm
And by appointment

Please send me email to to arrange an appointment.

Phone:  (631) 223-8311 


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 research techniques and research study findings in science education. The objective is to introduce graduates to tools used in research and study how data is used to look more carefully at cause and effect in teaching and learning. In the process, graduates will identify an area of research interest to investigate and write a review of the literature in their chosen topic. There are well-designed, published journal articles in a wide range of areas related to teaching and learning.

We will discuss common models used in research. Quantitative studies that rely on numerical data analysis and qualitative studies that rely more heavily on observational, descriptive measures will be reviewed and analyzed. 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. 

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. (2011). Introduction to Educational Research – 7e. New York: Longman   IBSN 10: 0-13-701344-2

Schedule of (Mertler and Charles) readings

Galvan, J.L. (2009). Writing Literature Reviews - 4e. Los Angeles CA: Pryczak Publishing  IBSN 1-884585-86-8

Schedule of Galvan readings


 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. 

Also:  Reference Desk at Rosenthal Library - Course SEYS 777  for additional texts and sample literature reviews

Supplies and/or tools, hardware: You will need access to a computer with an Internet connection to do the online assignments.  You should have ear phones that you can connect to your computer in order to listen to webcasts and podcasts.

Computer labs available on campus:  Every other week we will meet in a computer lab in Kiely 115.  If you need to use a computer on campus, here are links to information on the computer labs on campus with the days and hours they are available.   Software needed:  All you need for this course is access to a web browser.  I highly recommend that you use Firefox and Google Chrome.  Any other software needed will be available for free, either as open source software that you can download and install, or free Web 2.0 applications.  
Accounts needed:  You must have the following accounts:  Your Queens College CAMS account, a CUNY Portal account, a CUNYFirst account, a Google account, and a Science Moodle account.  
Optional supplies - digital microphone, digital video camera, smartphone, webcam.  These will all be available for use during face to face class meetings.  I recommend that you have a USB drive to store backups of your work. 

How to get help:  I will try to answer all email requests for help sent to within 24 hours.  If you don't hear from me by then, please resend your request.  It is helpful if you put a short description of the question in the subject header of the email message.  Another way to get help is from your peers by posting a message to our Google group.  If you have problems with your Queens College, CUNY Portal, or CUNY First accounts you should contact the OCT Help desk.  Here are some places you can get help:

What to do if BlackBoard and the QC website are down:  If BlackBoard is down, please check our QC course website at  and also check your QC email  If all of these are down, go to our Google group and check your gmail email for announcements about alternative arrangements.  

Tips and Advice for Students Taking an Online or Hybrid Course 


 Active class participation in discussions of focus topics is expected. 

Week 1  Kiely 115
2 Online

3  Kiely 115
4 Online
5 Kiely 115
6 Online
7 Kiely 115
8 Online
Week 9 Kiely 115
Week 10 Online
Week 11 Kiely 115
Week 12 Online
Week 13 Kiely 115
Week 14 Online
Week 15 Kiely 115
Week 16 Kiely 115
Week 17 Kiely 115

Week  1  - 8/28/2012 -  FACE TO FACE IN KIELY 115 - Course overview

Week 2 - 9/4/2012 - ONLINE -  Resources in educational research 

Tasks to be completed during Week 2:

Assigned Reading

(Mertler and Charles) Read Chaps 1: Educational research and 4: Locating published research.

Week 3 - 9/11/2012 -  FACE TO FACE IN KIELY 115 - Using the library for science education research 

 Week 4 -  9/18/2012 - NO CLASS

 Week 5 -  9/25/2012 - NO CLASS

Week 6  - 10/2/2012 -  ONLINE - An overview of types of educational research and data sources - Chap. 2; 


Assignment #1 due:  Review of a science education research article - post on the discussion board in BlackBoard and submit using Assignments

Assigned Reading: (Please post any questions or comments on the chapters on the discussion board in BlackBoard)


 Week 7 -  10/9/2012 -   FACE TO FACE IN KIELY 115 - Selecting, refining and proposing a topic for research - (Mertler Chap. 3)


Assigned reading:


Week 8  - 10/16  - ONLINE - Designing a research project - Chap. 6

Science News


 A Private Universe

     Assignment: Work on your 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. Post on the discussion board in Blackboard, submit as an assignment, and share as a Google doc with  Save backups in various locations.

Assigned reading

(Mertler and Charlers) - Chapter 6 - Designing a Research project


Week 9 -  10/23/2012 -  FACE TO FACE IN KIELY 115 - Research Project Updates, feedback and discussion, Introduction to statistics

Assigned Reading

(Mertler and Charles): 


Week 10 -    10/30/2012 -   ONLINE - Example of historical research topic -  pick team assignments post on the wiki tool in Blackboard

Assigned reading:


Week 11 -  11/6/2012 - FACE TO FACE IN KIELY 115 -  Recovery from Hurricane Sandy, lit review and proposal updates and question and answers (I will try to video this class for those who can't make it.  The link will be posted to the Google group and in BlackBoard and via email)

Assigned reading:


Week 12 -  11/13/2012 -  ONLINE - Continue working on proposal and lit review - submit questions, problems to instructor

Science news:

Tasks for Week 12:

1)  On the Mertler book website,  read through the following for chapters 3, 4, and 5:

2)  Post an updated version of your proposal and a list of the references you have collected so far

3)  Prepare to lead your team discussion next week.

4)  You should be working on the rough draft of your literature review paper. 

Week 13 - 11/20/12 –   FACE TO FACE IN KIELY 115 - Types of research studies – Experimental, quasi-experimental,  and

     single subject research - Chap. 13; Mixed-methods research designs – Chap. 14, Non-experimental quantitative

Science news:

Education research news:

Each team will lead a discussion on the topics specified (maximum time per team is 15 minutes).  We are discussing materials from "Introduction to Educational Research" by Craig Mertler and C.M. Charles (7e) and (6e), so each group should have at least one copy of each edition. 

Continue work on literature review in class and proposals

Useful technology links:

Week 14 - 11/27/2012 - CLASS IS ONLINE THIS WEEK - Continue to work on literature review and proposals

Week 15 - 12/4/2012 -  FACE TO FACE IN KIELY 115 - Assignment 2 - Final Proposal Due

Week 16 -   12/11/2012 -  FACE TO FACE IN KIELY 115 - Presentation of oral summaries 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

Week 17 -   12/18 /07 - FACE TO FACE IN KIELY 115 - 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.                                       25 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:

Assignment 1 - review of a science education research article
Assignment 2 - Research proposal 10
Assignment 3 - Review of the literature presentation
Assignment 4 - Review of literature paper 50

Total possible points:  105 points


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.