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Brian's Class Materials- SPRING 2009 - SEYS 778

SEYS 778 Home

Queens College/CUNY

Education Unit

Spring 2009

 SEYS 778 – Seminar Research in Science Education II

Wednesday 7:10 pm to 9:40 pm

Kiely Hall Room 115


This list is to help prepare you with the necessary skills and knowledge to carry out a high quality, science education, Master's research project.  I will be making modifications and adding links as necessary.  You can always check the time and date stamp above to see when this document was last modified.  

You do not have to proceed through these steps in order.  In fact, feel free to jump around and see what you might need to accomplish in the future.  The most important thing is to make sure that you are comfortable with each step in the process.  If you have questions, feel free to ask.  Please check off each item after you have accomplished it.  

IMPORTANT:  Throughout this whole process keep multiple backups of your work, in different forms.  Always print out hard copy at intervals so that you can recover if you lose your electronic data.  Do not trust USB drives alone. Email files to yourself using gmail, save files on your home computer, on portable drives and on cd's etc.  Set up your Word processor so it makes automatic, timed backups.  Or, you could also use Google docs to write your paper.   

Fall 2008 - Tasks to be completed

  1. Start a science research notebook (or a blog).  - Get a hardcover notebook and carry it with you everywhere.  Jot down ideas, information, and any thoughts you have related to your possible research topic.  An possible alternative or addition to your notebook, would be to establish a research blog dedicated to your project.  
  2. Read your textbook from cover to cover ( Mertler,C.A.and Charles,C.M. (2008). Introduction to Educational Research - 6e. New York: Longman).  Check out  the companion web site to the textbook:
  3. Become acquainted with some of the science education research literature.  - In order to accomplish this you need to read some peer-reviewed, science education research articles.  I strongly recommend that you pick an article that looks interesting from the Journal of Research in Science Teaching (JRST) to review carefully.  You should also take a trip to the library and browse through several past issues of JRST, looking at the table of contents and abstracts.  
  4. Review a science education research article - Look critically at a science research article in order to determine strengths and weaknesses.  Look up any terms in educational research related web sites or books.  Read the reviews of research articles posted by your peers on the class discussion board.  
  5. Learn how to search electronic databases to find and obtain science education research articles.  Make sure that you know how to use the ERIC database, and other education, science and psychology databases through the Queens College library.  This is absolutely essential.  Find a science education research article using ERIC and also through one of the library databases.  
  6. Find out where the science education books and journals tend to be located in the Queens College library.  Visit the area and browse in person.
  7. Use the library to find at least one book related to a topic in science education research. For example, you might get a book on gender and science.  Pay special attention to the bibliography at the end of any book you consult.
  8. Start brainstorming possible topics.  During the brainstorming stage, you should generate as many ideas as you can.  Jot these down in your notebook and post them on our discussion board.  You can phrase these as questions, hypotheses or just general topics at this stage.  Think about some of the intractable problems or interesting phenomena you have observed or heard about.  You can also search the web, look at a variety of science education articles, current issues in science education, etc. for possible topics.
  9. If you have problems choosing a topic, talk it over with your colleagues, and your instructor.  Do NOT stress out, and worry about your topic alone.  Interact with your colleagues and instructor, and eventually a worthy topic will emerge.  
  10. If all else fails, choose a topic related to an area of science you teach, and start doing some database searches, including ERIC.  
  11. Once you have a topic, develop a system to gather information from your literature review. Make sure that you read the textbook:   Galvin, J.L. (2006). Writing Literature Reviews  - 3e. Los Angeles CA: Pryczak Publishing  
  12. Narrow down your topic.  Focus!
  13. Collect research articles and books related to your topic.
  14. Read the articles and books, and take good notes, making sure to note page numbers.  If you make copies of articles and sections from books, you can write on them and make notes.  Make sure to keep copies of complete bibliographic information for each source you use.  Put all of your articles and books in alphabetical order by author's last name in a box or filing drawer.  
  15. Continue to focus your topic.  Try and state your topic as a research question and also as an hypothesis.  
  16. If you can, identify important variables related to your research question.  Make a diagram to show how these variables might be related.  If you are able to do this, you may be able to come up with a theoretical model that might help you to explain any results.  If there are existing theoretical models you can see if your project might extend or confirm features of existing models.  
  17. Decide on your research question and hypothesis and get approval from the instructor.  Post your final research question and hypothesis on the class discussion board.  Don't worry you can change this if necessary but it will cost you valuable time.  
  18. Share your research topic with your colleagues and peers and get feedback.  
  19. Continue to collect articles, books, papers and information related to your topic.  
  20. Become familiar with the various types of educational research.  
  21. Understand important concepts in educational research such as validity and reliability.
  22. Note different types of research methods as you carry out your review of the literature.  
  23. Begin working on your research proposal.  Start a Word document and place the main headers of your proposal in the document.  Add ideas and information as you go.  
  24. Once you decide on a possible research design and method, submit it to the instructor, and post it on the class discussion board. 
  25. IMPORTANT - Choose something that is feasible.  You will need to have your data by week 4 of Spring semester, in order to have enough time to analyze it and write up the rest of  your paper.
  26. Make sure to check the CUNY policy for Student Research with Human Subjects.
  27. Obtain approval from the instructor before proceeding to gather data.  
  28. Complete and submit your literature review.  
  29. Present your literature review and incorporate feedback.
  30. Complete and submit your research proposal.  
  31. Continue your collection of articles, books, papers and other information throughout the duration of your project.  Add any new information to your literature review.  
Spring 2009 - Tasks to be completed

  1. Show your research proposal and literature review to your instructor and to your school administrator (if you are doing research in a school).  Obtain approval before proceeding.  
  2. Start an outline of your paper. with the main headers included.
  3. Write up a draft of the Methods (Procedure) section of your paper.  
  4. Carry out your project and collect your data.  Remember to continue to record everything that occurs during the project in your research notebook and/or blog.  If you use a blog do not use real names of students, teachers or of the school.
  5. Become familiar with the research methods you are using.  For example, if you are administering a survey, interviewing, observing, etc. you MUST become an expert on those techniques.  Borrow books from the library on the research techniques you are using and search the web.  You should also consult with the instructor.  
  6. Become familiar with the data analysis techniques and tools you will be using.  For example, if you are doing quantitative research, you will need to learn how to use statistical software.  I highly recommend that you use the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS).  There are many good tutorials on the web, in statistics texts (borrow one from the library) and with the software itself.  For example, if you are going to use correlations and a Chi Square test to analyze survey data, you will need to become an expert on the Chi Square test and correlations.  If you are doing qualitative research, there is software available for that purpose such as NUDIST.  
  7. Share regular progress reports on your research with the instructor and your colleagues and peers on the class discussion board and in class.  
  8. Come up with a tentative title for your project, an abstract, and fill in the pieces you already have completed such as the literature review.  
  9. Analyze your data.  Consult the APA guidelines for information on the how to display research results using tables, charts, graphs and figures.  
  10. Write up your results section.
  11. Write the conclusions section.
  12. Include any implications of your research.  
  13. Submit your rough draft on the class discussion board and also to the instructor.
  14. Revise your paper.
  15. Proofread.
  16. Have your friends, colleagues and peers proofread your paper.
  17. Submit your final copy.