• investigating the difficulties of changing instructional paradigms, including the role of instructor beliefs and values, institutional constraints, student expectations, and student backgrounds; and
• investigating the role of basic thought processes in learning physics.
Chemistry Education Research
In 1991, a groundbreaking article introduced what is now known as “Johnstone’s Triangle” (Johnstone, 1991), which portrays the three central components of chemistry knowledge: the macroscopic, particulate, and symbolic (letters, numbers, and other symbols used to succinctly communicate chemistry knowledge) domains. These three domains have since provided a structure for chemistry education research. Indeed, questions about what students of chemistry know, or how teachers of chemistry ought to teach, mirror the quest of chemists to connect the macroscopic properties (color, smell, taste, solubility, etc.) of matter to the structure and particulate nature of matter.
Current areas of interest in chemistry education include
• students’ conceptual understanding, especially of the particulate nature of matter (see Chapter 4);
• the use of technology to shape student reasoning;
• analysis of student argumentation patterns;
• the use of heuristics in student reasoning; and
• the development of assessment tools to measure thinking about chemistry (see Chapter 7).
Engineering Education Research
Guided by the ABET accreditation criteria (ABET, 2009) and their implementation, the principal areas of inquiry for engineering education research include the following:
• the extent to which engineering education reflects engineering approaches by integrating and aligning content, assessment, and pedagogy for learning module, course, and program design (the equivalent of developing requirements or specifications, assigning relevant metrics, and preparing prototypes that meet the requirements) and by engaging in a cycle of improvement that closes the loop between research and practice;
• the extent to which engineering faculty adopt evidence-based practices;