Research on science teaching and learning plays an important role in helping all students become proficient in science and making science education more equitable and inclusive, two goals called for in the Framework for K–12 Science Education (NRC 2012). NSTA promotes a research agenda that is focused on the goal of enhancing student learning through effective and equitable teaching practices that are based on current research. NSTA encourages ALL stakeholders in science education, including K–16 teachers of science and administrators, informal science educators, and school board members to recognize the importance of educational research, promote more research in schools, and participate in research when possible.
NSTA considers a broad range of activities to be within the scope of research, including research conducted by teachers that can lead to immediate classroom changes as well as research that contributes to a larger body of knowledge such as long-term or large-scale studies. Research on science teaching and learning involves identifying and asking appropriate questions, designing and conducting investigations, collecting evidence, drawing conclusions, and communicating and defending findings (NSTA 2004).
To produce research that has meaningful outcomes and the ability to improve the teaching and learning of science, NSTA advocates that research and practice be linked and support compatible goals. This synergistic relationship between research and practice includes teachers and researchers communicating goals, activities, and findings with the greater science education community in ways that make research accessible, understandable, meaningful, and relevant to teachers, administrators, and policy makers.
The process of research is the essence of the scientific enterprise and of scientific inquiry. Science education builds on the best of research in both worlds—science and education. By engaging in continual inquiry into teaching and learning, we can promote scientific literacy for students in the 21st century.
NSTA makes the following recommendations to promote effective research on science teaching and learning.
Regarding the focus of research on science teaching and learning, NSTA recommends those conducting research
Regarding the practice of research on science teaching and learning, NSTA recommends those conducting research
Regarding the use of research on science teaching and learning, NSTA recommends
—Adopted by the NSTA Board of Directors, September 2010
Revised, October 2017
National Research Council (NRC). 2012. A framework for K–12 science education: Practices, crosscutting concepts, and core ideas. Washington, DC: National Academies Press.