Applied Research in Science and Mathematics Education

SCED 404
Taught in
Fall 2006, Spring 2006, and Fall 2005
Course Level
Lifelong Support

Course Description

SCED 404 is an introductory course in social science research methodology. It is designed to provide the participant with an understanding of various kinds of behavioral research and to develop skills for various applied research designs appropriate to science education and the behavioral sciences. Basic statistical techniques and applied research methods appropriate to these designs are experienced by conducting field trips and analyzing the resulting data. Thus, the intent of this class is not to simply provide a list of research methods and activities. Instead, this class should help the participant develop a philosophy and approach to conducting research in science education that is informed through current research and understandings of her/his own practice.

Course Goals

The focus of the course is to provide students with an opportunity for:

  • familiarity with various empirical research methods
  • familiarity with research terminology
  • ability to assess the benefits of research applied to science education
  • clarity and experience of data collection and analysis
  • ability to report research findings in a scientific manner


In this class we will refine and develop what we know in a social setting by scientific methodology. Your ideas and those of your fellow students are the basis of the meanings we will make from this class. Thus, this is not a lecture class and information cannot be simply obtained by “getting the notes” from a classmate. Therefore, attendance is expected and you are to be professional in your class participation. Professionalism includes, but is not limited to, such things as excellence in class assignments, constructive class participation, being a positive contributor to group work, taking advantage of opportunities to broaden personal knowledge and skills, and going beyond the minimum in all your work and interactions.

Required Texts

  • Gay, L.R. (1996). Educational Research: Competencies for Analysis and Application (5th Edition). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merril. Creswell, J. W. (1994). Research design, qualitative and quantitative approaches. California: SAGE Publications, Inc. (Supplementary reading will be provided as needed)
  • Denzin, N. K., & Lincoln, Y. S. (2000). Handbook of qualitative research (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications, Inc. (Supplementary reading will be provided as needed)