Journal of Science Teacher Education

, Volume 27, Issue 3, pp 325–347 | Cite as

The Use of Journal Clubs in Science Teacher Education

  • Karen A. Tallman
  • Allan Feldman


This qualitative study explored how in a 7-month-long journal club pre- and inservice science teachers engaged with education research literature relevant to their practice to reduce the theory–practice gap. In the journal club they had the opportunity to critique and analyze peer-reviewed science education articles in the context of their classroom practice. Data sources included audio recordings of the meetings; semi-structured pre- and post-interviews of the teachers; focus groups; and artifacts (e.g., journal articles, reflective paper, email exchanges, and researcher’s field notes). Data were analyzed using the techniques of grounded theory (Corbin & Strauss in Basics of qualitative research, 3rd ed. Sage, Thousand Oaks, 2008). In addition we used some preconceived categories that we created from existing literature on journal clubs and communities of practice (Newswander & Borrego in European Journal of Engineering Education 34(6): 561–571, 2009; Wenger in Communities of practice: learning, meaning, and identity. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1998) and from our previous research (Tallman & Feldman, 2012). We found that the journal club incorporated the three characteristics of a community of practice (Wenger in Communities of practice: learning, meaning, and identity. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1998) into its functioning (mutual engagement, joint enterprise, and shared repertoire). The teachers mutually engaged around the joint enterprise of reading, critiquing, and understanding the research studies with the goal of improving practice. The teachers also asked each other analytical questions, which became a shared repertoire of the journal club. They reflected on their practice by presenting, reading, and discussing the articles, which helped them to determine whether and how the findings from the articles could be incorporated into their teaching practice. In doing so, they learned the skills needed to critique the research literature in relation to their practice as classroom teachers.


Journal club Teacher education Community of practice Theory–practice gap 


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Copyright information

© The Association for Science Teacher Education, USA 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EducationSpringfield CollegeSpringfieldUSA
  2. 2.Department of Teaching and Learning, College of EducationUniversity of South FloridaTampaUSA

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