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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Models and Impacts of Science Research Experiences: A Review of the Literature of CUREs, UREs, and TREs.

  • Author(s): Krim, Jessica S;
  • Coté, Laleh E;
  • Schwartz, Renée S;
  • Stone, Elisa M;
  • Cleeves, Jessica J;
  • Barry, Kelly J;
  • Burgess, Wilella;
  • Buxner, Sanlyn R;
  • Gerton, Jordan M;
  • Horvath, Lawrence;
  • Keller, John M;
  • Lee, Soon Chun;
  • Locke, Sharon M;
  • Rebar, Bryan M
  • et al.

In efforts to increase scientific literacy and enhance the preparation of learners to pursue careers in science, there are growing opportunities for students and teachers to engage in scientific research experiences, including course-based undergraduate research experiences (CUREs), undergraduate research experiences (UREs), and teacher research experiences (TREs). Prior literature reviews detail a variety of models, benefits, and challenges and call for the continued examination of program elements and associated impacts. This paper reports a comprehensive review of 307 papers published between 2007 and 2017 that include CURE, URE, and TRE programs, with a special focus on research experiences for K-12 teachers. A research-supported conceptual model of science research experiences was used to develop a coding scheme, including participant demographics, theoretical frameworks, methodology, and reported outcomes. We summarize recent reports on program impacts and identify gaps or misalignments between goals and measured outcomes. The field of biology was the predominant scientific disciplinary focus. Findings suggest a lack of studies explicitly targeting 1) participation and outcomes related to learners from underrepresented populations, 2) a theoretical framework that guides program design and analysis, and, for TREs, 3) methods for translation of research experiences into K-12 instructional practices, and 4) measurement of impact on K-12 instructional practices.

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