Methods and strategies

Diane M Bunce and Renee S Cole (eds)
2015 | 368pp | £34.49
ISBN 9780841230286


In the preface, the editors explain their use of the notion of chemistry education instead of the historically established term chemical education. They justify their decision by the fact that chemistry education research deals with ‘the teaching and learning of chemistry, rather than with chemicals per se.’ Of course this is true, and at the same time it explains the need for books like this about chemistry education research (CER).

Newcomers to CER are often chemists interested in teaching and learning who were trained in the methods of chemistry. By contrast, CER mainly uses methods from educational and social sciences – conducting interviews or performing statistical analysis of questionnaires requires different skills and knowledge to organic synthesis or spectroscopic analysis.

In 17 chapters, the book gives the reader both an overview and deeper insights into selected strategies and methods of CER. It takes a look at different qualitative and quantitative aspects of CER and offers topical insights, like how to measure conceptual knowledge of chemistry. It also discusses some general issues, eg how to deal with non-significant results or ethical considerations when doing CER with and about human beings. The book is not a comprehensive overview of all potential research methods for CER, but it offers a broad spectrum of tools that constitutes a valuable resource.

The first chapter that I read and instantly gave to all my graduate students was about how to prepare CER manuscripts for publication. This chapter alone – jointly written by authors from the UK, US and Australia who are all in leading editorial positions of major CER and science education journals – makes it worthwhile purchasing the book. However, the other chapters allow newcomers and graduate students in CER a very valuable introduction to better understand and to start conducting CER. For this reason I highly recommend the book.