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American Association of Physics Teachers




Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research | Operational Research


Ford (2015) argues for viewing “scientific practice” not as a list of particular skills, but rather, more holistically as “sets of regularities of behaviors and social interactions” among scientists. This conceptualization of scientific practices foregrounds how they meaningfully connect to one another and are purposefully employed in order to explain nature. We apply this framework in the context of undergraduate research experiences (UREs) to understand the early forms of student engagement in scientific practices, and how these specific forms of engagement may be consequential for students’ future participation. Using video from interviews with students and research mentors, we argue that this “practice” lens affords new insights into understanding students’ experience of UREs. We also use this data to illustrate how coming to engage in scientific practices might look in early stages of participation.


This article was originally presented at the 2016 PERC Proceedings, Sacramento, CA, and can also be found online at this link. ©2016 AAPT PERTG