The effect of research-based science instruction on the attitudes of students, by gender, towards science, scientists, and careers in science.
AuthorLockwood, Jeffrey Frank.
Committee ChairClark, Donald C.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractResearch-based curriculum is a system of instruction which uses an authentic learning, problem-solving, cooperative learning, hands-on, and inquiry-discovery approach, guided by a constructivist philosophy. Its usefulness has been recognized for many decades but "research in the classroom" has not been adopted as a teaching method by many. This study centers on research done by students in science classrooms. The primary purpose of this study was to measure, both quantitatively and qualitatively; (1) students' understanding, by gender, of the nature of science and, (2) student attitude changes, by gender, toward the nature of science, scientists, and careers in science before and after the completion of research projects. The gender equity problem in science classes is explored and improvements in four process skills were measured for both treatment and control groups. Also, different models of research-based science education are described. The Test of Science Related Attitudes (TOSRA) and the Nature of Science Scale (NOSS) were given pre and post to both groups. Several qualitative instruments were given and student journals were analyzed by gender. The results of TOSRA showed gains in positive attitude for students after they experience a research-based curriculum for six of the seven TOSRA scales. However, the control group had similar gains so the mixed design analysis of variance showed no statistically significant differences between control vs. treatment or male vs. female interactions. Much of the qualitative analysis revealed that students' understanding of the nature of science changes considerably after they "do" scientific research. The journal analysis and the "Research is...." question analysis show that students also have a significant affective response to the research experience. Quantitatively, the total NOSS score improvement for the treatment group was substantial (11.4 to 13.8) and better than the control, although it was not a statistically significant difference. Generally, treatment students showed greater improvement on all NOSS scales. Treatment students also had greater gains on the four different process skills measured in this study. Research-based curriculum is an effective way to change students' attitudes towards science and a sound way to increase student understanding about the nature of the research process.
Degree ProgramTeaching and Teacher Education