Introduction to Theoretical Frameworks for Research in Chemistry/Science Education

Discipline-based educational research often builds upon three elements: a theoretical perspective or “lens;” a methodology or methodological framework; and a set of explicit research questions the study will try to answer. Evidence for the fundamental role theoretical frameworks play in educational research can be found in the decision by editors of journals that publish this work to require an explicit description of the theoretical framework for a study in order for a manuscript to be considered for publication.

For many years, one of us (GMB) would ask colleagues who taught “research methods” courses for educational research whether there was a resource to which he could refer his graduate students that provided the detail needed to select an appropriate theoretical framework for a study. They would often laugh and comment that they wished there was a book of this nature to which they could refer their own students.

Eventually, a group of graduate students who had pursued a Ph.D. in chemical education research at Purdue and several of the faculty at Purdue decided that we would try to generate a volume of this nature for use in the chemical education research community. Many of the chapters in this book begin by describing the source of a particular theoretical framework; explain why this framework was appropriate for a particular study; and provide examples from the research literature of studies that used that framework.

When Prentice-Hall no longer sold copies of this book, we asked the publisher to return the copyright to us. For several years, we had Printing Services at Purdue produce copies of the book that were provided to people at cost. More recently, we have had PDF files of the book’s content posted on the chemical education website of several countries. Because of requests from members of the CER community, we have provided PDF files of the book for the DivCHED website.

George Bodner, Purdue University
MaryKay Orgill, UNLV.

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