Blue-footed Boobies from the Galapagos


The Final Next Generation Science Standards have been released.  Click here to explore the NGSS

More info:


Science Fun

Brian's Class Materials- SPRING 2013 - SEYS 778

SEYS 778 Home

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


Queens College/CUNY
Education Unit
Spring 2013

Week 1
Week 2
Week 3
Week 4
Week 5
Week 6
Week 7
Week 8

Week 9
Week 10
Week 11
Week 12
Week 13
Week 14
Week 15
Week 16
Week 17

 SEYS 778 – Seminar Research in Science Education II

Wednesday 7:10 to 9:40pm

Kiely Hall Room 115


Brian Murfin, Ph.D.,
Office:  Powdermaker Hall Room 135C

Email addresses:

Please submit all course assignments

  1. By posting them on the discussion board in BlackBoard
  2. By submitting them using the assignments link in BlackBoard
  3. Share the Word docs as a Google doc with

as Google docs with

Office Hours: 

Wednesdays  3 to 5pm
Thursdays from 2 to 4pm

More information on office hours:

Please email me at to set up an online appointment. 

Students who are enrolled in SEYS 778 this semester can also meet with me online using the BlackBoard Virtual Classroom or Chat tools.  

Phone:  (631) 223-8311


SEYS 778  is the second half of a two-course research requirement in the M.S. in Secondary Education program for secondary science teachers. Science teachers in SEYS 778 complete studies or projects to enhance their professional knowledge in diverse areas such as curriculum, instruction, technology, student achievement, student behavior and addressing diversity in the science classroom. Research practitioners are expected to demonstrate competency in using the tools of research to reach objective conclusions. An approved research proposal and review of the literature paper completed in SEYS 777 are prerequisites for the study or project undertaken in SEYS 778.  

Queens College Education Unit Core Values* - A Conceptual Framework

The Education Unit seeks to promote the 3 E’s*- 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:

*Equity:  Building inclusive learning communities that challenge and nurture all students
 Excellence: Encouraging professionalism, scholarship, and evidenced-based and reflective practice.
 Ethics: Valuing diversity, democracy and social justice


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 2013. An appropriately formatted (APA) research paper of a study or project is due Finals Week.  No extensions.

Course objectives aligned with Core Values:


Text  (Required):

Mertler,C.A.and Charles,C.M. (2011). Introduction to Educational Research - 7e. New York: Allyn and Bacon.

hardcover notebook (this will be for your research journal/notebook)


Abell, S.K. , Lederman, N.G. (2007) Handbook of Research on Science Education. Routledge

Burnaford,G.,Fischer,J.,Hobson,D. (1996). Teachers Doing Research: Practical Possibilities.  New Jersey: Erlbaum Asso.   

Gabel, D.L. (1993). Handbook of Research on Science Teaching and Learning. New York: Macmillan.               

Glass, G., Hopkins, K. (1996). Statistical Methods in Education and Psychology. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.  

Web Resources:

Queens College library research guides

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 expected.  Excessive absences may result in a half-letter drop of the final grade.  

Chinese New Year 2013! an opportunity for a multicultural science connection 

1/30/2013 – Week 1 - FACE TO FACE - Reviews of the Literature and Proposal returned. Spring overview, syllabus; review of deadlines, research needs assessment; professional conference

Class Activities:
Assignments Due:  
Readings:  Read Chapter 6 - "Procedures and Tools for Gathering Data" in Mertler for next week

2/6/2013 - Week 2 - ONLINE - Clarification of research question(s),

Discussion of research priorities, including issues related to data and data collection. Data collection procedures

Class activities:

Assignments Due

2/13/2013 - Week 3 - FACE TO FACE- 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. 

Class activities:

Assignments due:

2/20/2013 - Week 4 - ONLINE - NO CLASS - Follow Monday Schedule

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

Class activities:


Read: “Constructing a  Questionnaire”:

Chapter 8,  Appendix pp. 337-358.  

Useful Links:  

2/27/2013 - Week 5 - FACE TO FACE-  Project updates, Case study discussion:  Value Added Assessment of Teacher Effectiveness in New York City Schools, Group/Individual conferences (20 minutes each) . 

Assignment: Chapter 7; Software Programs, p. 131, Mertler and Excel tutorials – see web resources.  Appendix pp. 371-389.  

Sign-up for group/individual conference schedule using the Wiki tool in Blackboard;  Week 5, 6, 7, 8, 9.

Class activities

  1. Before class, please view the screencasts:
  2. Science news
  3. Reminders
  4. Join our Edmodo classroom (sign up for a free account, register as a student and use the following group code:  knohpn
  5. Project updates - What type of data are you collecting and how will you analyze it? 
  6. Discussion of issues with research
  7. Value-added updates
  8. Value Added Activity - Part 2 (Here is a link to the full pdf of the NYC Technical report)
    1. Two very relevant quotes:
  9. Begin meeting with groups/individuals.  We will spend a maximum of twenty minutes per each person.
    • Be prepared with the following:
      • A summary of your project
      • Progress report
      • Any questions, problems
  10. Value added news
  11. While the instructor is meeting with individuals or groups, please start your Master's project paper draft using Google Docs
    • Sign up for a Google account if you do not already have one.
    • Create a blank Google doc and copy and paste the Final paper template into your new Google doc and save.  Rename your paper so that it has your last name and seys778, e.g. YournameSEYS778.  Check the following links for information on your research paper:
    • Guidelines for writing your final research paper Final research paper rubric
    • Share your document with me.  My email address is
    • Start working on the draft of your Master's project paper.  You can keep a backup of your paper by copying and pasting text from the Google Doc into Microsoft Word.    
  12. Make sure you have posted your data collection instruments and plan on the Discussion Board in BlackBoard.
  13. Post updates on the progress of your research project on the Discussion Board in BlackBoard
  14. Pick one of the following online statistics textbooks and go through the introductory chapters:

3/6/2013 – Week 6 - ONLINE - Entering and organizing your data
Group/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.

Class Activities

View screencast demonstration of creating a database table and form.

Create a simple database table and form.  Next import your database into Calc, a spreadsheet program and make a simple bar chart. After this, you will explore a software tool that will enable you to import a document, add categories and then mark up the document. 

  1. Updates on projects
  2. Value-added questions, comments, and updates
  3. Download and install LibreOffice and/or OpenOffice.
  4. Open up Base
  5. Open up Calc
    • Go through the Open Office Calc tutorial or
    • View the Calc tutorials you are interested in
    • Copy and paste your data table into a spreadsheet in Calc.
    • Create a simple bar chart.
    • You could now easily copy and paste this into a Word (Writer) document and then format it according to APA style. 
    • You can also choose "Save as" in Calc and save your spreadsheet file in a variety of format so that the data can easily be imported into SPSS (on the QC computers) or PSPP (free open source software you can install at home).
Please note:  You can also use Microsoft Access and Excel if you have them at home but if you use OpenOffice or LibreOffice you will always have the latest software for free.   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 or PSPP. For now, just install LibreOffice or Open Office. 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 or PSPP.

4.  Another option for data entry is for you to create a form in Google docs.  You can then enter the data using the form and it will be available in the form of a spreadsheet that you can download and then import into Libre Office, Open Office, SPSS or PSPP
5.  Qualitative data software
2.  Read "Pitfalls of data analysis"

Useful Links:

3/13/2013 – Week 7 - FACE TO FACE - Topic - How will you analyze your data? Brief introduction to SPSS, OpenStat and PSPP, Find a "Model" research paper. Group/ 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.

Important note: 

Class activities:

1)  An introduction to data analysis with SPSS

2)  Read through the materials below related to the analysis of your data.  Later in today's class, you will present an overview of how you plan to analyze your data. 

3)  Use Google Scholar and the Queens College library databases to find a "model" science education article, that uses a similar research design and data analysis to your research project.  Post the bibliographic information and pdf of the article on the discussion board in BlackBoard. 

4)  At home, download PSPP and/or OpenStat and explore some of the sample datasets. 

Useful links:             

3/20/2013 – Week 8 - ONLINE - SPSS and Data Analysis continued - Group/Individual conferences (20 minutes each)

Topic - Other:  Not included in above. Individual conferences – sign up using Wiki Tool in BlackBoard

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. Transgressing the Boundaries: Towards a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity 
  2. A Physicist Experiments With Cultural Studies
Useful links:

3/27/2013 – Week 9NO CLASS - Spring Recess

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.


Session replaced by SCONYC Conference April 6, 2013 - Professional Conference Day:  SCONYC CONFERENCE –SATURDAY, April 28, 2013. @  Stuyvesant HS (8:00 am -4:00 PM)  345 Chambers St. NYC

Email and post progress reports, questions and answers


Assignment Due:  

Assignment #3A "first review" of raw data or collation of descriptive material (Summary of data analysis to date) (1-2 pages)  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)

4/10/2013 – Week 11FACE TO FACE - Preparation for oral presentations, work on data analysis and writing of papers in class.  Set up accounts and upload PowerPoint or Prezi presentations

Science news:

Updates on research projects, individual conferences

Browse the materials on the following presentation tools.  Choose one for your final presentation:

Useful articles:

4/17/2013 – Week 12 - ONLINE - Preparation for oral presentations, work on data analysis and writing of papers in class.  Set up accounts and upload PowerPoint or Prezi presentations

Schedule of Presentations (TBA)

4/24/2013 – Week 13FACE TO FACE - Assignment #4 - Oral Presentations of research

Assignment #5 due - Please post all visual aids including handouts, slides, on the Discussion Board in BlackBoard and submit using the Digital Dropbox.  Post slides on the web using slideshare or Prezi and post URL on the Discussion Board in BlackBoard.

5/1/2013 – Week 14FACE TO FACE - Assignment #4 - Oral Presentations of research

Oral Presentations:

Work on projects, questions and answers


Assignment #5 due - Please post all visual aids including handouts, slides, on the Discussion Board in BlackBoard and submit using the Digital Dropbox.  Post slides on the web using slideshare or Prezi and post URL on the Discussion Board in BlackBoard.

5/8/2013 – Week 15FACE TO FACEAssignment #4 - Oral
Presentations of research 

We have FIVE presentations tonight.  Please be on time. 

Check out these interesting research sites:

A humorous research journal:

Assignment #5 due - Please post all visual aids including handouts, slides, on the Discussion Board in BlackBoard and submit using the Digital Dropbox.  Post slides on the web using slideshare and post URL on the Discussion Board in BlackBoard.

5/15/2013 – Week 16 - FACE TO FACE- Assignment #4 - Oral Presentations of research   

Assignment #5 due - Please post all visual aids including handouts, slides, on the Discussion Board in BlackBoard and submit using the Digital Dropbox.  Post slides on the web using slideshare and post URL on the Discussion Board in BlackBoard.

Oral Presentations of research
:  Two copies of your completed thesis due.  Your thesis should also be submitted by posting it as a Word Doc on the bulletin board in BlackBoard, on a CD-ROM, and also using the Digital Dropbox.  Finals Day 5/20: 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. Checkpoint #1 (5 points) - By April 3rd, your research should be completed i.e. collection of primary and secondary data for quasi-experimental, descriptive and action research (i.e. questionnaires completed, data collected).  If your study is descriptive, historical or in an area of science or an area solely dependent on sources of published data, all information, resources and printed matter for your study/project should be in your provenance by this date. Checkpoint #2 - April 10th (5 points) post rough draft on Blackboard using the Assignments link and on the discussion board.
Additional information on the final research paper and individual conferences

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 assignments and 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, 4/28/12 from 8am to 4pm at Stuyvesant High School, 345 Chambers Street @ West Street. 


If you have a question about conducting research projects involving human subjects and need guidance, please visit:  CUNY Policy for Student Research with Human Subjects and  Human Subjects in Research or contact Ms. Barbara 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.