Discipline: Science and Mathematics Education
Room: Exhibit Hall A
Kiana Kasmaii - Florida International University
Co-Author(s): Amy Acosta, Florida International University, Florida
BACKGROUND/SPECIFIC AIM: Primary scientific literature (PSL) is a great source of information of what scientists are researching. These results discovered by scientists are very important because this is the foundation of our advancements as a society. Most universities do not require students to read PSL as part of the curriculum. The McCartney lab has partnered with AAAS and the Science in the Classroom project, which features annotated PSL, to further understand how students interact with PSL. Previous research has demonstrated that since PSL is written by scientists themselves, it does not commonly include the practical reasoning that is required to understand the articles (Yarden, 2009). Additionally, studies have shown that students become discouraged when attempting to read scientific articles due to the complexity and objectiveness of the papers. Providing additional information has been proven beneficial to students, especially non-science majors, when reading PSL (Gillen, Vaughan, Lye, 2004). Previous work in our lab suggests that students would benefit from a video of the author describing the PSL they are reading. This project investigates whether the inclusion of an author video with a piece of PSL will help student understanding of the science within the PSL. METHODS: An author interview video was recorded in order to further inform students about the selected PSL that a professor at Florida International University (FIU) conducted. Then, to test if the students did have an increase in their understanding and interest in the material, a questionnaire was developed asking students for their opinions of the video, reading comprehension questions, science identity, and sense of belonging to the Biology department at FIU. Initially, a focus group (n=21) was conducted to refine the questionnaire and author interview video. An updated questionnaire was developed, and in the fall semester of 2019, 6 ecology lab sections were given the pre-survey. During the fall 2019 semester, the author interview video will be implemented as part of the Ecology course. Students were divided into six treatment groups: section 1 students only read a PDF of the PSL, section 2 students read the annotated PSL, sections 3 and 4 read the PDF and watched the author interview afterwards, and sections 5 and 6 read the annotated paper and watched the author interview. At the end of the semester, the students will be given the post-survey to investigate if they had an increase in their interest in the subject of ecology as well as their understanding of the material presented in the PSL. RESULTS: Pre-survey data for the ecology labs shows students interest in ecology to be a 3.0 out of 5 and their competence/performance in ecology to be 2.9 out of 5, indicating there is room for both of these measures to increase as a result of this study. Pre-survey data for sense of belonging to the FIU biology department measured a 4.2 out of 6, again indicating that this measure can increase as a result of this study. with regards to reading primary literature students scored a 2.8 out of 5 in competence of reading PSL and a 2.8 out 5 in interest in reading PSL. CONCLUSION: We continue to collect data over the course of the fall 2019 semester. We predict an increase in all of these measures as a result of our study. REFERENCES: Gillen, C. M., Vaughan, J., & Lye, B. R. (2004). An online tutorial for helping nonscience majors read primary research literature in biology. Advances in physiology education, 28(3), 95-99. Yarden, A. (2009). Reading scientific texts: Adapting primary literature for promoting scientific literacy. Research in Science Education, 39(3), 307-311.
Funder Acknowledgement(s): McNair Fellowship; NSF
Faculty Advisor: Melissa McCartney, Mmccartn@fiu.edu
Role: I mainly focused on creating a questionnaire asking students if the author interview video increased their interest and understanding of the PSL. After recording and editing the author interview video, I also hosted focus groups in order to deliver these questionnaires.