2015 GSA Annual Meeting in Baltimore, Maryland, USA (1-4 November 2015)

Paper No. 88-1
Presentation Time: 8:00 AM


SEXTON, Julie M., Mathematics and Science Teaching Institute, University of Northern Colorado, Ross Hall 1210, Campus Box 123, Greeley, CO 80639, julie.sexton@unco.edu

Increasingly geoscientists are conducting geoscience education research (GER). However, the transition from traditional geoscience research to the vastly different social science perspectives and methods needed for GER can be daunting. Many geoscientists have conducted GER studies with little or no formal training, which has produced studies of highly variable quality. As the number of geoscience education researchers grows, there is an opportunity to deepen and strengthen GER. This presentation provides an overview of GER methods as well as recommendations for advancing the GER field.

GER is organized into three broad categories: qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods. In qualitative research, non-numerical data (e.g., interviews, observations, documents) are analyzed using non-numerical methods (e.g., text analysis). In quantitative research, numerical data (e.g., numerical survey data) and/or qualitative, non-numerical data (e.g., interviews, observations, documents) are analyzed using quantitative methods (e.g., statistical analyses). Mixed methods research combines qualitative and quantitative data data and analysis. A geoscience education researcher selects the type of study depending on the area being researched and the questions being asked. Personal experience, social science theories, published research literature in various social science fields, and the researcher's personal beliefs inform selection of a study area and research approach.