ERIC Number: EJ1153840
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017-Oct
Abstractor: As Provided
To What Extent Does Current Scientific Research and Textbook Content Align? A Methodology and Case Study
Bierema, Andrea M.-K.; Schwartz, Renee S.; Gill, Sharon A.
Journal of Research in Science Teaching, v54 n8 p1097-1118 Oct 2017
Recent calls for reform in education recommend science curricula to be based on central ideas instead of a larger number of topics and for alignment between current scientific research and curricula. Because alignment is rarely studied, especially for central ideas, we developed a methodology to discover the extent of alignment between primary literature (a proxy for current research) and textbooks (a common curricular resource that often drives curriculum). We illustrated the use of this methodology by applying it to the discipline of animal behavior based on the central ideas identified by Tinbergen (1963, "Zeitschrift für Tierpsychologie" 20:410-433): causation, ontogeny, survival value, and evolution. We utilized deductive content analysis (both manual and automated) to collect data on how often these four ideas are addressed in animal behavior journal articles and the four most commonly used textbooks in the United States, identified by syllabi collected via a stratified random sample of U.S. post-secondary institutions (n = 99). We observed an overall alignment between primary literature and textbooks in the use of the four central ideas--which suggests that the authors of animal behavior textbooks are meeting the suggestions provided by recent calls for reform that curriculum portrays current research. This paper illustrates the use of a methodology for evaluating the extent to which central ideas employed in primary research within a discipline are reflected within curricular resources.
Descriptors: Scientific Research, Textbook Content, Methods, Case Studies, Science Instruction, Educational Change, Science Curriculum, Animal Behavior, Content Analysis, Textbooks, Alignment (Education), Postsecondary Education
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Postsecondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A