PERL Members Alexis Knaub, John Aiken, and Danny Caballero curate focused collection on quantitative methods in PER
- Jul 3, 2019
PERL Members Alexis Knaub, John Aiken, and Danny Caballero curate focused collection on quantitative methods in PER. You can read about the collection here.
Alexis and John also have a paper included in the collection titled "Two-phase study examining perspectives and use of quantitative methods in physics education research"
Abstract: While other fields such as statistics and education have examined various issues with quantitative work, few studies in physics education research (PER) have done so. We conducted a two-phase study to identify and to understand the extent of these issues in quantitative PER. During phase 1, we conducted a focus group of three experts in this area, followed by six interviews. Subsequent interviews refined our plan. Both the focus group and interviews revealed issues regarding the lack of details in sample descriptions, lack of institutional or course contextual information, lack of reporting on limitation, and overgeneralization or overstatement of conclusions. During phase 2, we examined 72 manuscripts that used four conceptual or attitudinal assessments (Force Concept Inventory, Conceptual Survey of Electricity and Magnetism, Brief Electricity and Magnetism Assessment, and Colorado Learning Attitudes about Science Survey). Manuscripts were coded on whether they featured various sample descriptions, institutional or course context information, limitations, and whether they overgeneralized conclusions. We also analyzed the data to see if reporting has changed from the earlier periods to more recent times. We found that not much has changed regarding sample descriptions and institutional or course context information, but reporting and overgeneralizing conclusions have improved over time. We offer some questions for researchers, reviewers, and readers in PER to consider when conducting or using quantitative work.