This interactive session is designed to promote critical thinking about current research practices and integrate a variety of perspectives on research syntheses and how they can help advance education research.
Examples of research practices that limit the validity of research syntheses are not difficult to find. For example, Education Development Center, Inc. (EDC), and Abt Associates reported in their Compendium of STEM Instruments that psychometric reporting practices in the STEM community tend to be insufficient, and this limited what they could learn from their synthesis. Biological Sciences Curriculum Study (BSCS) has a parallel experience with how the myriad of statistical reporting practices in the science education research literature has made it challenging to conduct valid meta-analyses. If researchers had more and better opportunities to discuss the potential impact of research syntheses and how individual studies might best contribute to these syntheses, there might be less of a disconnect in the future.
As a mechanism for opening the dialogue on this topic, this session is intended to promote critical thinking about current research practices and integrate a variety of perspectives on research syntheses and how these studies can help advance science education research. In particular, the panel considers and comments on the following questions with regard to synthetic work in science education and related fields:
1. How do you view the role of research syntheses in advancing science education or other education research fields? Elaborate using examples of your own work.
2. In what ways is the science education community facilitating and/or inhibiting the impact of research syntheses?
3. What would you recommend science education researchers do to maximize the validity, usefulness, and impact of research syntheses?
After hearing from the panelists, the session attendees break out into groups facilitated by each panelist and a BSCS co-facilitator to respond to focus question 3, above, and then report out.