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Abstract Title: Paradigms in Physics Education Research
Abstract: Physics education research (PER) includes three distinct paradigms: quantitative research, qualitative research, and question-driven research. Quantitative PER seeks reproducible, representative patterns and relationships; human behavior is seen as dictated by lawful (albeit probabilistic) relationships. Qualitative PER seeks to refine and develop theory by linking theory to cases; human action is seen as being shaped by the meanings that participants make of their local environments. Question-driven physics education researchers prioritize their research questions over the pursuit of local meanings or abstract relationships. As such, they privilege research methods that match their particular question at hand, rather than methods that attend to the rich details of a particular context or those that emphasize representativeness or reproducibility. We illustrate each paradigm with interviews with physics education researchers and examples of published PER.
Abstract Type: Symposium Poster
Targeted Session: Research directions in PER: Past, present, and future

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Amy D. Robertson
Seattle Pacific University
3307 Third Ave W
Suite 307
Seattle, WA 98119-1997
Phone: 206-286-7347
and Co-Presenter(s)
Rachel E. Scherr (Seattle Pacific University) and Sarah B. McKagan (American Association of Physics Teachers)