ERG SES H 04, Science Education
Education research is usually seen as collecting information in a scientific manner using sound methodologies to construct knowledge that would serve to advance education and learning processes. However, there are noteworthy methodological flaws in educational research concerning conceptual frameworks, validity and reliability of research instruments, sampling procedures, and relevance of research designs (Elmore & Woehlke, 1996).
Little research is conducted on the quality of Turkish science education research (e.g., Sozbilir & Canpolat, 2006; Sozbilir &Kutu, 2008). These reviews give some clues about the current state of research in Turkey. They summarized the developments in science education research and their effects on science teaching in Turkey, as well as the paradigm changes in educational research methodologies. In these reviews, researchers also argued that methodological deficiencies and the tendency to follow world trends rather than develop independent lines of research are two biggest challenges researchers of science education have to face in Turkey.
Conducting more syntheses research and analyzing the literature from a critical perspective would allow us to see how we can gather better and useful information from the field. To attain better results in critical issues, policy, and intervention in science education more systematic reviews, secondary analyses, and meta-analyses should be conducted (Rossman & Yore, 2009). It is important not only to conduct relevant science education research but also to understand what has been studied in the past in order to explore what could be done to make it better (Chang et al., 2010).
Therefore, this study aims to investigate the quality of science education research conducted by Turkish researchers to illuminate the current issues in this field and understand the needs and struggles of this field in Turkey. Since quality is a debatable construct, this study compares two groups of research conducted by Turkish researchers, research published in international journals and research published in national journals.
One of the underlying assumptions for this choice is that the prominent international research journals set the criteria for the research quality with their guidelines for reviewing manuscripts (Good, 1991). The main themes for quality shared by these journals are as follows; the research question should be embedded in existing literature addressing a need or a gap in it. The methods should be appropriate for the research question. The sampling procedure should be explained in detail. All steps of the data collection should be outlined. The results should be presented in a way that allows alternative interpretations and replication of the study. The results should be discussed critically.
National science education research journals published in Turkey also claims to follow these standards. Therefore, a comparison between these two groups of research would not only give information about the quality of published science education research articles but also reveal the effect of enforced standards by these journals. Such information can be used to shape further research and possibly improve research quality of Turkish science education research journals as well.
Another assumption fundamental to this research is that the role of language in knowledge construction is determinant (Chomsky, 1989; Von Glasersfeld, 1989; Banks, 2001), therefore comparing studies from two different language might be problematic. This research made the choice of analyzing Turkish science education research articles published in English. This research addresses two research questions:
1. Are there any differences between research published in International journals and National journals in the field of science education by Turkish researchers?
2. Are there any quality problems which can be deducted from comparing internationally and nationally published research with regards to science education research and publication in Turkey?
Banks, J. A. (2001). Cultural diversity and education. Foundations, Curiculum and Teaching (4th ed.). London: Allyn. Chang, Y. H., Chang, C. Y., & Tseng, Y. H. (2010). Trends of science education research: Anautomatic content analysis. Journal of Science Education and Technology. 19(4), 315–331. Chomsky, N. (1986). Knowledge of language: Its nature, origin, and use. Greenwood Publishing Group. Elmore, P. B., & Woehlke, P. L. (1996). Research methods employed in American Educational Research Journal, Educational Research and Review of Educational Research from 1978 to 1995. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED397122) Good, R. (1991 ) Editorial. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 28(4), 291- 292. Mayring, P. (2004). Qualitative content analysis. A companion to qualitative research, 266-269. Rossman, G. B., & Yore, L. D. (2009). Stitching the pieces together to reveal the generalized patterns: systematic research reviews, secondary re-analyses, case-to-case comparisons, and meta-syntheses of qualitative research studies (575–601). In M.C. Shelly II, L.D. Yore, & B. Hand (Eds). Quality research in literacy and science education: International perspectives and gold standards. Dordrecht: Springer Sozbilir, M., & Canpolat, N. (2006). Fen eğitiminde son otuz yıldaki uluslar arası değişmeler: Dünyada çalışmalar nereye gidiyor? Türkiye bu çalışmaların neresinde? [Developments in science education in the last thirty years: Where the researches go in the world? Where Turkey is about in these researches?] (417–432). In M. Bahar. (Ed) Fen ve teknoloji öğretimi [Teaching science and technology]. Ankara, Turkey: PegemA Publishers. Sozbilir, M., & Kutu, H. (2008). Development and current status of science education research in Turkey. Essays in Education, Special Issue, 1–22. [Online] Von Glasersfeld, E. (1989). Cognition, construction of knowledge, and teaching. Synthese, 80(1), 121-140.
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