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An Investigation into Secondary Science Teachers' Use of Research to Inform Their Science Teaching

The perceived irrelevance and lack of accessibility of academic research for science teachers has long been recognised as a significant problem in much educational literature. While interventions have been suggested to enhance applicability and accessibility to support teachers in their use of research findings, too little attention has been paid to how teachers’ access findings and how use of findings influences teachers’ learning. There is a need for investigating efficiency of access to research findings and use thereof for enriching science teachers’ subject content knowledge and pedagogy. This study explored ways in which science teachers access findings, how they reported these influence teacher pedagogy and practice and the factors that affect motivation of teachers to access research findings and develop as reflective practitioners. Exploration into teacher learning as a result of engaging with research findings that specifically results in the teacher changing teaching pedagogy is also undertaken. Guided by an interpretative inquiry, this study initially administered a questionnaire to a group of thirty five secondary science teachers and answers analysed to guide and inform further questioning. Subsequently, semi-structured interviews with nine science teachers provided data that was also analysed to explore teachers’ use of research findings. This study argues that a focus on making research findings accessible to science teachers is in the interest of teacher learning and should be considered priority for researchers, those publishing in educational research and for those planning professional development programmes for teacher learning. In addition, both failing and successful strategies for disseminating findings and the ways access and use of findings by teachers can be enhanced. This study also gives science teachers some insight into making use of research findings to inform their own teacher learning, pedagogy and practice by a deep engaging with research findings.
Type of thesis
van der Merwe, S. (2012). An Investigation into Secondary Science Teachers’ Use of Research to Inform Their Science Teaching (Thesis, Master of Education (MEd)). University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/7943
University of Waikato
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