Category Archives: Skola

6. A series of comments on research in science education

Here I will reflect upon phenomenology and probably some other methods. Also my thoughts on some important concepts in research.

Fixed design: Research strategy where the research project is more fixed before data is collected. For instance, the golden standard randomised control trial maybe even with a control group or pre- posttest with a treatment in between. The test is constructed before the research is undertaken.

Flexible design: Research strategy where the research project is developed further when data is collected and are being analysed. For instance,

Validity is a measurement if you measure what you intended to measure, or with Robsons words (Real World Research, second ed. 2002. p 93): ”Validity is concerned with whether the findings are ´really´what they appear to be about.”

Internal validity: concerns the trustworthiness of the research process and how it is done. Cause & effect, the effect can be explain by the found cause and nothing else. The cause precedes the effect, cause and effect are related, no other plausible explanations can be found for the effect. In this sense are different biases or systematic errors considered and measure taken to avoid them? Here is a very good list of research biases: Wikipedia also have a list of different biases:

External validity: concerns how the research results can be generalized to other people or other studies.

According to Robson (Real World Research, 2002, p 107) internal and external validity tends to be inversely related. If you have controls to strengthen internal validity you often fight against external validity (or generalizability).

Reliability concerns the trustworthiness of the undertaken research, if the results can be repeated if someone else does the same research process.

Triangulation can be describes as using several methods, participants, perspectives, theories or analysis who, hopefully, point to the same results or complement each others in such a way the results are strengthened.

However, there are criticism against validity and reliability when it comes to qualitative research. Not all researchers agree that qualitative research can be reliable and valid, at all. Robson writes a couple of pages on this matter (Real World Research second ed., 2002, pp 168-177).

Phenomenology: ”A form of qualitative research in which the researcher attempts to identify commonalities in the perceptions of several individuals regarding a particular phenomenon.” – Data Definitions Adapted from the Glossary How to Design and Evaluate Research in Education by Jack R. Fraenkel and Norman E. Wallen, PDF here.

”Husserl rejected the belief that objects in the external world exist independently and that the information about objects is reliable. He argued that people can be certain about how things appear in, or present themselves to, their consciousness (Eagleton, 1983; Fouche, 1993). To arrive at certainty, anything outside immediate experience must be ignored, and in this way the external world is reduced to the contents of personal consciousness. Realities are thus treated as pure ‘phenomena’ and the only absolute data from where to begin. Husserl named his philosophical method ‘phenomenology’, the science of pure ‘phenomena’ (Eagleton, 1983, p. 55). The aim of phenomenology is the return to the concrete, captured by the slogan ‘Back to the things themselves!’ (Eagleton, 1983, p. 56; Kruger, 1988, p. 28; Moustakas, 1994, p. 26).”

– Groenewald, T. (2004). A phenomenological research design illustrated.

Groenewald describes his analysis (or lack of…?) as:

  • 1) Bracketing and phenomenological reduction.
  • 2) Delineating units of meaning.
  • 3) Clustering of units of meaning to form themes.
  • 4) Summarising each interview, validating it and where necessary modifying it.
  • 5) Extracting general and unique themes from all the interviews and making a composite summary.

The process of analysis (described quite thoroughly in the article by Groenewald) I get some vibes that the process of analysing data for/in discourse analysis i similar. There are differences, for instance the intention, the why. In phenomenology, as Groenewald way, you search for different thing that regards one specific phenomena.

Another interesting read on phenomenology is Van der Mescht Phenomenology in Education: A Case Study in Educational Leadership.

Collier-Reed & Ingerman writes the following regarding phenomenology and research:

”In deciding whether phenomenography can help a researcher answer the question posed in their research, it is important to take care to frame the question appropriately. As the approach is directed towards understanding the relationship between a student and a phenomenon in the world, it is important that the phenomenon is one that is able to be clearly articulated and shared by those participating in the research. As the focus of the research is not on the phenomenon per se, but rather on describing how students may conceive of the phenomenon, a critical first step is the researcher ensuring that participants attend to the same phenomenon during the data collection process. This is often non-trivial as the nature of some phenomena is such that it is challenging to ensure that participants describe their relationship with the same phenomenon as other participants.” – Phenomenography: From critical aspects to knowledge claim

Like discourse analysis there is a lot done in phenomenology and therefore a lot to read and reflect upon.



Dr Hennie Van der Mescht (2004) Phenomenology in Education: A Case Study in Educational Leadership, Indo-Pacific Journal of Phenomenology, 4:1, 1-16, DOI: 10.1080/20797222.2004.11433887

Collier-Reed, B. & Ingerman, Å. (2013) Phenomenography: From Critical Aspects to Knowledge Claim. Jeroen Huisman, Malcolm Tight (ed.) Theory and Method in Higher Education Research (International Perspectives on Higher Education Research, Volume 9), p 243-260.

Robson, C., (2002) Real World Research second edition.

Groenewald, T. (2004). A phenomenological research design illustrated. International Journal of Qualitative Methods, 3(1). Article 4. Retrieved 27/3 -16 from

Wikipedia on the bold words + above mentioned book.


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5. A series of comments on research in science education

This comment takes of after the ethics comment, back to methods.

One methods of research is one where you continually change your theories when you are analysing your data. This process is known as an iterative process where you pose questions to your data based on observations (the observations can be transcribed speech or text in some kind). You can also start to pose questions when you start collecting data and by the process of continued observations, you can identify theoretical concepts. These theoretical concepts are linked in a tentative way to the data and the process continues in an iterative process. Grounded theory is one of these methods where you start asking questions when you start gather data. The iterative process is thorough and takes a lot of time. The generated theories/concepts are further developed, with time the process changes into verification and summary. In addition, the theoretical concepts tends to evolve into one core category. This is a summary of a summary from here:

In the link Trochim ends with:

”When does this process end? One answer is: never! Clearly, the process described above could continue indefinitely. Grounded theory doesn’t have a clearly demarcated point for ending a study. Essentially, the project ends when the researcher decides to quit.

What do you have when you’re finished? Presumably you have an extremely well-considered explanation for some phenomenon of interest — the grounded theory. This theory can be explained in words and is usually presented with much of the contextually relevant detail collected.”

GT is based upon constructivism (obviously, since you start with data and form concepts and theories from the data, late in the process you start to look into the literature) and is of both inductive and deductive nature. The iterative process can take both strategies. However, this can also be described as an abductive process. The process of reasoning goes another way than deductive and inductive reasoning. The researcher moves between data and theory back and forth, the understanding of it continually emerges.

Thornberg and Charmaz writes, in the introduction part (p 11) of The SAGE Handbook of Qualitative Data Analysis by Uwe Flick, in Grounded Theory and Theoretical Coding the following:

”Grounded theory (GT) is a research approach in which data collection and analysis takes place simultaneously. Each part informs the other, in order to construct theories of the phenomenon under study. GT provides rigorous yet flexible guidelines that begin with openly exploring and analysing inductive data and leads to developing a theory grounded in data. […] instead of pure induction, the underlying logic of GT actually moves between induction and abduction.”

Also, Thornberg and Charmaz states that the meaning of abduction is to select or construct a hypothesis in order to explain a particular empirical case or set of data, in such a way that any other hypothesis candidate is weaker or worse. After that you should continue your analysis with the help of your hypothesis. Further Thornberg and Charmaz describes the coding process in three steps, open coding (search data for segments to be coded), focused coding (search for segments or similar codes for most significant or frequent codes that makes analytical sense and remove other codes or segments of data) and lastly theoretical coding (analyse how categories or codes constructed from data might relate and possibly be integrated into a theory. However, there are probably not one specific way of doing grounded theory and it is not step 1, 2 and finally 3, the process goes around and ends when ”…the study reach theoretical saturation, meaning that gathering fresh data no longer sparks new insights, nor reveals new properties of the generated GT and its categories or concepts.” (ibid, p 167)

However, there are other methods of research and GT is one I probably never will use. Due to the research group I currently belong to do not use this method of research.

There are other kinds of research methods, one i phenomenology whom I never have been using. Picture below is very interesting, found here.

Skärmavbild 2016-03-26 kl. 14.17.27

Phenomenology I will have to continue later. To follow is also my thoughts on:

Fixed design: Research strategy where the research project is more fixed before data is collected.

Flexible design: Research strategy where the research project is developed further when data is collected and are being analysed.

Internal validity, reliability, triangulation and validity.

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4. A series of comments on research in science education

In the preceded comment I wrote a little about qualitative and quantitative methods. Here I will write a bit more about qualitative methods.

The methods I have used in my education so far is semi-structured interviews, a couple of times, interviews with a guide of questions – all according to Samhällsvetenskapliga metoder av Alan Bryman. The title in English is Social Research Methods ( . The data from the interviews where set against other sources of data, i.e. books and Internet sources. Beforehand I had formed questions to be answered by the data collection. I did this kind of ”research” 4-5 times in different reports. Regarding research questions, I had formed them myself, or in some cases, with a friend whom I where working with. However, according to Mogens Niss (seminar at FontD november 2015) good research questions need to be:

Clear, precise, deeply intellectual, scientifically interesting, significant – degree of richness of consequences of answers, originality, researchable (!). Niss especially underlined the following:

”Disciplined inquiry has a quality that distinguishes it from other sources of opinion and belief. The disciplined inquiry is conducted and reported in such a way that the argument can be painstakingly examined.” (Cronbach & Suppes, 1969, p. 15).

However, the points stated by Niss above is aimed mostly at trained researchers because how can undergraduates state scientifically interesting and significant questions? Undergraduates and others in training will have to be able to answer questions already answered or with a smaller group aimed at replicating research or something like that.

One thing that recently entered my mind, awakened by a close friend whom is a sociologist, is ethics of research. The different reports, stated above, had almost none reflections of research ethics. I remember that one of the reports, where I interviewed four 15 year old students, I beforehand gave them a paper with information on what the research was intended for and what the recorded interview will be used for, who will listen to it. The paper with information the student took home for signature (meaning read and agreed upon by their parents or caregivers). In that sense I had reflected on the ethics of research regarding who will be listening to the interviews (me alone) and what it will be used for and that the students will be held anonymous. However, my sociologist friend said that I was not trained at all in doing the interviews and that such a interview is not aligned with the guidelines on the University where I studied at the time. I believe the research plan was given a go ahead from my instructor, but still not ok according to the guidelines. I agree with my sociologist friend, but there are a lot of undergraduate ”research” that cannot be done in this sense, there are a lot of reports that will have to have data only from books and other written sources. Maybe interviews of people over 18 years of age, but also the respondents will have to be chosen in such a way that no sensitive subjects arise, the open interview format (semi-structural interviews, the follow up questions is dependent on the answers given, anything might come up). My sociologist friend gave a couple of examples where rape victims and people who considered suicide at some time where interviewed by a untrained interviewer (undergraduate students). In those cases the respondents might have some kind of  relapse, they might need professional help. There are other problems with research ethics not being taken into consideration accordingly. The whole research project needs to be held against research ethics (a set of questions needs to be considered regarding ethics), why do we need to have these research questions answered? Why do we need to have this area researched?

Vetenskapsrådet has ethical guidelines and they write the following:

”The various demands placed on a researcher’s behaviour are part and parcel of the researcher role as it is conceptualized today; they are built into the research process. But these demands are based on society’s usual ethical norms and values. As you read the recommendations in this book, you will discover that a great deal of what is said can be summarized in a number of broad rules that all correspond to more general life rules.

You should:

  • tell the truth about your research.
  • consciously review and account for the purpose(s) of your studies.
  • openly account for your methods and results.
  • openly account for commercial interests and other associations.
  • not steal research results from others.
  • keep your research organized, for instance through documentation and archiving.
  • strive to conduct your research without harming people, animals or the environment.
  • be fair in your judgement of others’ research.” – Good Research Practice page 12 here

Also, on page 65 Vetenskapsrådet states the following: ”[…] social sciences (integrity-sensitive information on individuals and groups that can be revealed in studies). In these cases, the requirement for public access, openness and transparency sometimes comes into conflict with the requirement to protect research subjects’ and informants’ personal integrity. These issues also carry a danger that current regulation systems increase the risk that studies will be performed outside the healthcare arena, where there is less transparency. It is thus important to have general discussions on ethical issues in the handling of integrity-sensitive material. Awareness of both the rules and problems needs to increase within the research community.”

You can only have anonymous respondents if you do not write who they are somewhere. If you write somewhere who they are the information about them might come out in public, that has happened in Sweden where the Swedish court decided that collected data (sensitive data!) was of public demand. This is rather tough but the research has to take ethics and the Swedish law into consideration. Also, untrained undergraduates to do interviews, they will have to have someone to look at who they will interview and what questions they will ask, also what answers they might get and make them think through how they will react to possible answers given by the respondents.

I think I will have to come back to qualitative research methods…


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Detta inlägg handlar om vad jag pysslar med nu.

Sedan hösten 2013 läser jag för att ta licentiatexamen inom naturvetenskapernas didaktik vid Linneuniversitetet. Detta inom ramen för LicFonD vid Linköpingsuniversitet campus Norrköping. Mer här:

Det blir en sammanläggningsavhandling om vad autenticitet kan bidra med inom SSI eller i allmänhet i Naturkunskapsundervisningen på gymnasiet. Första artikeln handlar om mina elever som diskuterade dilemmat med varg i Sverige. Uppgiften började allmänt att de skulle ge sin syn i frågan i grupper om 5-6 elever. Deras personliga syn i frågan fick de skriva logginlägg om. Sedan förändrades uppgiften till mer autentisk (jag som lärare siktade mot mer autenticitet) genom att de fick skriva brev till Miljöminister Lena Ek (se tidigare inlägg i bloggen). Även detta fick ske i grupper och alla gruppdiskussioner spelades in. Dessa inspelningar är transkriberade och analyserades förra året med diskursanalys enligt James Paul Gee (se här för vad han pysslar med). Just nu formulerar jag en artikel med alla de svårigheter som det innebär att lära sig ett helt nytt sätt att skriva. Jag trodde jag hade koll på hur man skriver akademiskt. Så var det inte.

Min andra artikel kommer att handla om hur autenticitet fungerar för lärare. I ett följeforskningsprojekt samlas 8-10 lärare (det har förändrats lite under tiden) för att utveckla sin undervisning med hjälp av autenticitet och IKT. Gymnasieskolorna som vi arbetar på är så kallade en-till-en skolor, alla elever har en bärbar dator. Mer om autenticitet och relevans samt hur det har utvecklats i utbildningssystemets naturvetenskap här [en hel PDF]:

I följeforskningen spelas diskussionerna in och dessa kommer jag att analysera senare.

När det gäller autenticitet i utbildning så kan man säga att det bygger på Dewey och att det finns två sidor. En som säger att det kan bidra och en som säger att det inte kan bidra. <– Om jag har förstått rätt. I det stora hela handlar det om att eleverna ska uppfatta en skoluppgift som relevant och viktig. En autentisk uppgift skapar autenticitet hos eleverna och olika elever kommer uppleva en uppgift som olika mycket autentisk, om ens alls. Läraren kan sikta mot att eleverna ska uppfatta det som autentiskt men autenticitet är något som eleverna känner. Då kan autenticitet bidra med att skapa engagemang hos eleverna. En engagerad elev upplever skolarbetet som relevant och meningsfullt. I exemplet ovan så diskuterar eleverna varg i Sverige och sedan skriver sin syn i ett logginlägg som jag läser. Klart. Här kan det finnas en viss autenticitet. När eleverna sedan skrev brev till miljöminister Lena Ek så blir det annorlunda. Någon annan än läraren kommer att läsa det som skrivs. Ett annat exempel är att det eleverna producerar läggs ut på en blogg och läses och kommenteras av andra elever. Uppgiften får mer mening.

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Digitala skollyftet uppgift 2

Dela ett eget formulerat personligt kursmål och intresseintrikningar/frågeställningar att ta med genom kursens gång.

 Mitt mål med digitala skollyftet är att försöka ta del av vad andra lärare har gjort och gör i sina klassrum som jag kan använda/utveckla i mina klassrum. Speciellt intressant är gymnasiet och ämnena geografi och naturkunskap. Jag kommer ändock intressera mig för undervisningen i andra ämnen då skillnaden mellan ämnen ofta enbart är innehåll. Hur vi sedan undervisar och examinerar kan användas i de flesta ämnen. 

Betyg och bedömning är intressant att se. För mig och min skola har vi ett utvecklingsmål i år som handlar om formativt förhållningssätt/bedömning. Jag har i tre års tid använt mig at loggbok i min undervisning i naturkunskap och gett kommentarer på deras text sedan har de fått titta på sin text igen i upp till tre, ibland fyra gånger med nya kommentarer från mig mellan varven. Sedan ett år tillbaka sker detta i Google Drive. Jag har ett eller inga prov i min undervisning. I geografi ser det helt annorlunda ut, hittills.

I år har jag ingen geografi då det inte får plats i min tjänst. Jag skriver licentiat på 50% om hur autentiska uppgifter Forskningsformuleringen ser för närvarande ut:

1) På vilka sätt omdefinierar lärare undervisning och lärande i naturkunskap när de utvecklar sin praktik med hjälp av digitala resurser?

2) Hur förändras lärares uppfattning av naturvetenskap och naturvetenskaplig allmänbildning när de med hjälp av IKT utvecklar autentiska lärandesituationer?



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Min ena klass av två fick svar från Miljöminister Lena Ek

I föregående inlägg finns de brev länkade som mina klasser skrev. Eleverna har satt sig in i vargdebatten och gett sin syn till Miljöminister Lena Ek. Ek har tagit sig tid och svarat och morgondagens lektion får jag helt enkelt lägga på att eleverna får läsa och fundera på replik. Är de nöjda med svaret? Vad vill de ha förtydligande på?

Det här handlar om att få undervisningen mer autentisk. Eleverna sätter sig in i en verklig debatt som finns i samhället. Det är en svår fråga att lösa och det finns därmed inget givet svar. Eftersom eleverna skriver till någon annan än sin lärare så funderar de djupt över formuleringar och att vara tydliga. Direkt när eleverna får en sådan uppgift så händer något med eleverna själva, engagemanget ökar, de funderar och ser till att verkligen förstå. Kul! Halva matchen är vunnen. Nu är det bara kvar att få dem intresserade av kursens andra moment. 


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Följeforskningsprojektet kursbloggar

I följeforskningsprojektet, som går ut på att öka elevengagemanget och lärandet genom att formulera så autentiska uppgifter som möjligt, så har mina två kurser i naturkunskap 1b numera varsin blogg:

SA13A samhällsvetenskapsprogrammet inriktning samhäll:

SA13B samhällsvetenskapsprogrammet inriktning media:

Klasserna har tittat på vargdebatten i Sverige och gett sin syn i frågan samt skrivit brev till miljöminister Lena Ek. Förhoppningsvis så svarar Lena Eks brevskrivare så att mina elever känner att vad vi gör i klassrummet spelar roll. För intresserade, lyft in breven i ert klassrum och kommentera på vår blogg. Ge er syn.

De två klasserna har ännu inte läst respektive klass brev. De kommer att ges möjlighet att kommentera varandra framöver. Vi är även intresserade av andra naturkunskapskurser som bloggar.

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