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Brian's Class Materials- SPRING 2008 - SEYS 778

SEYS 778 Home


Queens College/CUNY
Education Unit
Spring 2008

Week 1Week 2Week 3Week 4Week 5Week 6Week 7Week 8
Week 9Week 10Week 11Week 12Week 13Week 14Week 15Week 16

 SEYS 778 – Seminar Research in Science Education II

Wednesday 7:10 pm to 9:40 pm

Powdermaker Hall Room 020


Brian Murfin, Ph.D.,
Office:  Powdermaker Hall Room 150P,

Office Hours: 

Wednesday 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm
Thursday 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm
And by appointment

Please send me email to to arrange an online appointment using either:

Phone:  718 998-5150


SEYS 778. Seminar in Research in Science Education. 2 hr. plus conf.; 3 cr.

Prereq.: For SEYS 777, matriculation in MS in Education (science) program, completion of 20 graduate credits, and 30 credits (undergraduate and graduate) in general science; for SEYS 778, SEYS 777 during the preceding semester.

Education Unit Conceptual Framework:

This course is being offered by the Secondary Education department which is 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 preparing teachers and other education professionals who will:

Build inclusive communities that nurture and challenge all learners (Equity)

This course is aligned with the Education Unit’s commitment to preparing educational professionals to work in diverse urban and suburban communities. Specifically, the knowledge, skills, and dispositions that candidates will development/demonstrate at the successful completion of this course are directly linked to the Education Unit’s seven principles: 1) discipline specific competencies, 2) learning and development, 3) families and urban communities, 4) diversity, inclusion, democracy and social justice, 5) language and literacy, 6) curriculum, instruction, and assessment, and 7) technology.


This semester, participants will undertake a significant study in science education. A strict schedule of check-off points is included to help guide research investigations.  See “Assignments, Due Dates and Grading.” Final projects will be presented by each investigator in seminar during April and May 2008. An appropriately formatted (APA style) research paper of a study or project is due Finals Week.  No extensions.

Course objectives aligned with Core Values:

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


Text  (Required):

Mertler,C.A.and Charles,C.M. (2005). Introduction to Educational Research - 5e. New       York:Longman


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. 

 Web Resource:


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

1/30/2008 – Week 1 - First semester Reviews of the Literature and Proposal due. Semester overview, review of deadlines, syllabus; 

2/6/2008 - Week 2 - Discussion of research priorities, including issues related to data and data collection. Data collection procedures

In-class activities:

Assignment: Chap. 7. Due: Timeline 

2/13/2008 - Week 3 - Issues related to the design of a qualitative and quantitative data collection instrument. In groups:  Bring 10 copies to class for feedback. e.g. questionnaires, inventories, surveys or unit tests. Also:  Issues related to data collation in qualitative and quantitative studies.    

 Assignment: Chapter 7.

2/20/2008 - Week 4 - Issues related to data analysis. Discussion of (your) data analysis plans. How will you report the outcome(s) of your study?  Measures of central tendency, inferential statistics and tests of significance will be reviewed.

In-class activities:review the Chapter 8 Lecture outline

Assignment: Chapter 8,  Appendix pp. 337-358.   Sign-up for conference schedule 3/5, 3/12 and 3/19, 3/26.

Useful Links:  

2/27/2008 - Week 5 - Individual conferences (20 minutes each) .  Additional online activities designed to help you with your research project will take place while the individual conferences are taking place.  Please make sure to check the course outline online for updates each week.

Class activities:  

1. Start your Master's project paper draft using Google Docs

2.  Make sure you have posted your data collection instruments and plan on the Discussion Board in BlackBoard.

3.  Post updates on the progress of your research project on the Discussion Board in BlackBoard

4.  Pick one of the following online statistics textbooks and go through the introductory chapters:

HyperStat Online Statistics Book
StatSoft - an electronic statistics textbook
Go through Elementary Concepts and Basic Statistics

3/5/2008 – Week 6 - Individual conferences (20 minutes each)  Additional online activities designed to help you with your research project will take place while the individual conferences are taking place.  Please make sure to check the course outline online for updates each week.

Class Activities:

1.  Download Open Office.  An introduction to data entry (Open Office Base)and analysis (Open Office Calc) (you can also use Microsoft Access and Excel if you have it at home).  Open Office Base is a database. We will create a table first, then a form to enter data. After the data is entered, it is easy to copy the table into Open Office Calc (this is the spreadsheet). In Open Office Calc, charts, graphs and tables can be made just like in Excel. You can also export the data from Calc if you need to do more statistical tests in SPSS. For now, just install Open Office. I will have the tutorials up in time for our class this Wednesday. This week we will work on data entry and the following week will be devoted to producing tables, charts, and graphs and importing the data into SPSS.  (You may also want to download and install OpenOffice.orgGoogleDocs.  This allows you to import and export docs from OpenOffice to Google Docs)

2.  Read "Pitfalls of data analysis"

Useful Links:

3/12/2008 – Week 7 - Individual conferences (20 minutes each).  Additional online activities designed to help you with your research project will take place while the individual conferences are taking place.  Please make sure to check the course outline online for updates each week.            

Class activities:

Useful links:             

3/19/2008 – Week 8 - Individual conferences (20 minutes each) (Completed).  Additional online activities designed to help you with your research project will take place while the individual conferences are taking place.  Please make sure to check the course outline online for updates each week.

Class activities:
Useful links:


Updates of all studies/ projects should be posted on the Discussion Board in BlackBoard.

Due next week: Summary of data analysis to date (1-2 pages)  Trouble-shooting research seminar.

4/2/2009 - Week 10 - TBA - Due: 1-2 pp. IMPORTANT:  Summary of data analysis is due!  Data analysis Summary should be posted on the Discussion Board in BlackBoard.  Sign up for day and time for your Oral presentation.  (The sign up sheet is in BlackBoard, under Tools, Wiki Tool)

4/9/2008 – Week 11NO CLASS 4/9/2008 - Session replaced by SCONYC Conference April 12, 2008 - Professional Conference Day:  SCONYC CONFERENCE –SATURDAY, April 12, 2008. @  Stuyvesant HS(8:15 am -3:30 PM)  345 Chambers St. NYC

4/16/2008 – Week 12 – Preparation for oral presentations, work on data analysis and writing of papers in class

SPRING BREAK (4/19-4/27/07)

Schedule of Seminar Presentations –  Topics (tentative)

4/30/2008 – Week 13 – Topics TBA (Please note:  if no one is scheduled to present this week then - Preparation for oral presentations, work on data analysis and writing of papers in class

5/7/2008 – Week 14 – Topics - TBA

5/14/2008 – Week 15 – Topics - TBA

5/21/2008 – Week 16 - IMPORTANT WE WILL MEET FROM 6:15PM TO 8:15PM :  Two copies of your completed thesis due.  Finals Day 5/21: No extensions. 

A plagiarized paper (any part) or paper authored by outside sources will result in a final grade of  F and noted on your record. 

Some variation in the syllabus may occur due to scheduling changes.       


You are responsible for meeting these target dates. A missed deadline for any check-off will result in a grade penalty unless a written request is submitted and approved at least one week prior to the due date.

Each paper should be a minimum of 20 pages, double-spaced, 12 font, with standard margins.  It should include the following sections:

Conferences are intended to help the researcher complete a blueprint for the semester and address unresolved questions about the research being conducted. Conferences will focus on reviewing updates on: precise wording of the research question, design (i.e.  plan/procedures for the investigation or “treatment”), the data being collected (sources and quality, quantity of primary, secondary data) and target dates for each phase of work. If  you plan to conduct a study with empirical data or any study involving quantitative analysis,  consider, in particular: a statement of the hypothesis, problem or question, treatment plan (if appropriate), precise nature of data needed, the  type and  characteristics of  data collection instruments to be used, (tests, questionnaires...), methods for collecting and recording the data;  sampling, mechanisms for controlling possible confounding variables, plans for analyzing data and limitations of the study.  If your study falls into a domain that does not fit the above categories, bring proposal outline with timeline for completion and a 5-10 page excerpt (data) of your work in progress.   

 A final grade in this course is based on the following criteria: 

Timely completion of required checkpoints above.                  25
Quality of presentation                                                           25
Final written research project paper                                       50

                        Total:                                                                 100

Final Research Paper/Curriculum Project and Presentation Information:


A class trip to SCONYC, a professional science teacher conference, is planned for Saturday, 4/12/08.  The conference will replace class on 4/9/08.


If you have a question about conducting research projects involving human subjects and need guidance, please visit:  http://qcpages.qc.eduORSP/index.htm#humans or contact Ms. Barabara P. Lermand, MA


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:

I. 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, please let the professor know before the start of the second class meeting. Your cooperation is greatly appreciated.