NEWS BRIEF: "Under the Microscope" White Paper Published

March 5, 2013



CAMBRIDGE, MA– "Under the Microscope", a white paper review of the research literature on biology labs (1987-2007) by TERC Principal Investigators Brian Drayton and Gillian Puttick, is now available here. The paper examines research papers and dissertations in English from 23 research journals, reporting on research done in North America, Europe, Africa, Asia, and Australia. The study evaluated the papers to discern trends, summarize findings, and identify gaps in the literature on biology labs from grade 5 to introductory college courses, asking such questions as: 

  • Did the research examine labs for their value to underserved populations, disabilities education, or other demographics of interest?
  • Is there evidence in the research for progressions in the growth of biological reasoning over the course of a student's school science career?
  • Do the researchers provide insight about how or whether labs support students' understanding of features that characterize biology as opposed to the other sciences?

The results suggest important gaps in the literature, and thus areas in which more research could make important contributions to our understanding of how biological lab experiences contribute to engagement and deep disciplinary learning in life science.