This project investigates the central question How does the inquiry nature of laboratory experience affect students’ perceptions and attitudes toward science and learning?
Specifically, we were interested in the following aspects of students’ experiences:
- Sense of community: Both the scientific community and the larger learning community on campus
- Help-seeking strategies and tendency
- Ability to cope with and overcome challenges in learning and scientific inquiry
- Sense of personal achievement in relation to courses and programs
- Perception of connections between scientific inquiry and societal issues
- Understanding of and attitude toward scientific inquiry
Students from three laboratory courses and programs were selected to capture a wide range of laboratory experience. These courses and programs vary in the level of inquiry. Twelve students from each of the three comparison groups were interviewed about their laboratory experiences and their perceptions and attitudes toward science and research.
Data collection ended in summer 2013, and data analysis is ongoing.
Funding was provided by the Hewlett Fund for Curricular Innovation.