I need to start this review by stating this fact: WHAT A USEFUL AND AMAZING BOOK! With so much focus by the National Academy of Sciences, the National Science Foundation, and the U.S. Department of Education on education research in the past 20 years, the topic of discipline-based education research has taken on a greater meaning in K–12 science classrooms, in school districts, and in higher education across the nation. Primarily written for academic scientists who want to learn more about how discipline-based science-education research is conducted, this book is a well-grounded, data-laden introduction to the philosophical and practical differences between more familiar scientific research and the more unfamiliar category of social science research. The authors give teachers do-it-yourself guidance for getting discipline-based education research projects off the ground. In doing so, they provide a platform for assisting both first-time and experienced researchers in designing and conducting effective education research. This book is also aimed at “engaging academic scientists in pursuing answers to scholarly questions that result in improving student learning.” As a result, the book explores “the important premise that observable and measurable student outcomes are critical to demonstrating success in teaching and in creating learning environments that support progress for each student, thereby improving the entirety of science education through scholarship.”
The central thesis of the book deals with data-based tools that can intellectually engage professors of science in “rigorously and systematically studying” how students learn, how students interact with and integrate specific scientific concepts or misconceptions in science within their individual mental schemas. Discipline-Based Education Research: A Scientist’s Guide begins with a rationale for designing and conducting discipline-based education research and develops a template for aligning research questions with the “most productive designs that are likely to result in high-quality evidence and publishable results.” The book ends with common approaches to collecting and analyzing education research data, while focusing on the practical aspects of publicly sharing and publishing discipline-based education research (DBER) questions, methods, and results. This is the first book I have found that effectively and clearly outlines the what and how behind DBER. In doing so, it inspires experts and laypersons alike with an appreciation and desire to improve science literacy among science majors and society as a whole.
This interesting and very well-organized book provides the science-education research community with a contextual, scholarly, data-driven understanding and appreciation of DBER. It’s a wonderful resource that gives scientists and science educators alike the opportunity to appreciate the quantitative and qualitative discourse within the science-education research community and would be an extremely welcome addition to a classroom or library bookshelf.