Pursuing A Research Strand

We started an important conversation at the TSCN workshop in a session called “Organization of cross-node research leading to peer reviewed publications.” Let’s take this a step further to organize and devise a research plan. Please join me online in conversation in the TSCN Forum: Cross Node Research.


Beverly Parsons introduces an approach to evaluation and research for TSCN.


Several potential lines of research were suggested within the session. My notes are not complete, but what I do have looks promising. Let me outline a few areas of research.


Motivation: Why do teens attend Cafés? We have found that reasons are varied, such as extra credit, a deep interest in science, a parent’s encouragement, social, etc. We could conduct a study that looks at these motivations and whether the motivations shift after attending one or many Cafés.


Career interests: The Cafés recruit speakers from a range of STEM disciplines. Many of the presenters carry out research in teams of scientists with a range of STEM backgrounds. What impact, if any, do the Cafés have on teens’ awareness, knowledge, and interest in STEM careers? And further, does a longitudinal study that tracks participants through high school into postsecondary reveal information about the impact of Cafés (on careers, on understanding or interest in science, on decision to pursue a STEM career, etc.)? What are the actions of presenters that influence teen’s thinking about careers?


Leadership skills: In what ways is the Teen Leadership Team experience effective at building leadership skills? How is this program unique to other leadership training programs?


Virtual community of teens: Is it possible to build a virtual community of teens—What does this look like? What is the impact of such a teen community? For example, what is the impact of a teens’ participation in a national network or community on feelings of inclusion, self-confidence, or STEM competence?


Web of impact: What impact does the TSCN have on individuals, on a family, on the community, and on the presenter? Another question might be: Do the Cafés have different impacts on different audiences? If so, what are they?
The first step is to discuss what lines of research TSCN members are interested in pursuing, and forming small work groups based on these interests. Please join the Forum conversation now. We want to form a few different cross-nodal groups in the next few weeks to start pinpointing specific research questions and approaches. Let’s ask the hard questions and learn together!