My research focuses on introductory college-level physics labs. What do students learn? How can we help them learn better? And what does learning in the lab offer that learning in lecture does not? I have been developing labs that introduce students to the nature of scientific measurement, get them thinking critically about data, evidence, and models, while also developing a conceptual understanding of measurement and uncertainty and a procedural toolbox for handling and analyzing data. This work also involves understanding how student epistemologies interact with their learning in the lab and how to foster more productive epistemologies and attitudes.
My research group studies student understanding, reasoning, and attitudes in these domains, as well as their intersections in other disciplines, in other courses over time, and to undergraduate research experiences. We focus on developing and validating object ways to measure these outcomes, such as through the development of the Physics Lab Inventory of Critical thinking.
Other research areas include understanding the experiences of underrepresented groups of students, evaluating and improving how we train teaching assistants, and digging into the fundamentals of how people learn various skills and concepts in physics.
To learn more about our introductory physics lab course structure and to access some available resources, visit physport.org/curricula/thinkingcritically.
I am actively recruiting graduate students, undergraduate students, and postdoctoral researchers. Please see available positions for more information.