New-Field Follies: Mistakes to Avoid When Embarking on STEM Education Research

Presented by
Greg Crowther (Everett Community College) & Larry Lesser (The University of Texas at El Paso)

If you are a practitioner of STEAM (STEM+Arts) education, have you ever thought about conducting more formal research in this area? Many of us have training in traditional scientific research, and some of our research skills surely are transferable to the realm of DBER (discipline-based education research). However, since education is a social science rather than a natural science, it also encompasses many assumptions and techniques that may not be familiar to STEM professionals. This presentation will review some of Greg’s blunders and missed opportunities in getting started with STEAM (STEM+Arts) education research. Our goal is NOT to discourage anyone from attempting this kind of research, but to help others avoid similar errors. These "new-field follies" will touch on such topics as education literature, theoretical frameworks, quantitative vs. qualitative research, theories of change, and IRB approval. In the end, understanding the norms of educational research may lead to more successful grant proposals and more impactful papers.