Thinking and behaving like scientists: Perceptions of undergraduate science interns and their faculty mentors
- 617 Downloads
We examined undergraduate research experiences (UREs) participants’ and their faculty mentors’ beliefs about the professional practices and dispositions of research scientists. In Study 1, 63 science interns and their mentors rated Merton’s (J Legal Political Sociol, 1:115–126, 1942) norms and Mitroff’s (Am Sociol Rev, 39(August):579–595, 1974) counter-norms of scientific practice. Specifically, we investigated what practices they believed research scientists should subscribe to (or not), and what practices they believed actually characterized research scientists’ behavior in the real world. Regarding idealized practice, mentors rated the norms significantly higher than did interns; mentors and interns generally did not differ in subscription to the counter-norms. Regarding actual practice, mentors believed scientists’ behaviors reflected counter-norms more than norms. Mentors further noted discrepancies between practices that should represent and actually did represent scientists’ work. In Study 2, interns and mentors listed characteristics associated with “thinking” and “behaving” like scientists. Personal and professional dispositions were mentioned more than intellectual and research skills. Although there was considerable consensus between faculty and intern perceptions, findings also revealed discrepancies that could be addressed in UREs, thereby aiding undergraduates’ socialization into the culture of scientific practice. Suggestions are provided for broadening interns’ conceptions of both scientists and science.
KeywordsUndergraduate research experiences Scientific norms and counter norms Professional socialization Images of scientists Science education Higher education
This research was sponsored by the National Science Foundation Recognition Award for the Integration of Research and Education (Award STI-96-20032).
- Allen, T. D., & Eby, L. T. (2003). Relationship effectiveness for mentors: Factors associated with learning and quality. Journal of Management, 29, 469–486.Google Scholar
- Bauer, K. W., & Bennett, J. S. (2008). Evaluation of the undergraduate research program at the University of Delaware: A multifaceted design. In R. Taraban & R. L. Blanton (Eds.), Creating effective undergraduate research programs in science: The transformation from student to scientist (pp. 81–111). New York: Teachers’ College Press.Google Scholar
- Brown, J. S., Collins, A., & Duguid, P. (1989). Situated cognition and the culture of learning. Educational researcher, 18, 32–42.Google Scholar
- Burk, D. L. (1999). Cyberlaw and the norms of science. Retrieved June 20, 2007 from http://www.bc.edu/bc_org/avp/law/st_org/itpf/commentary/content/1999060502.html.
- Clement, J. (1991). Experts and science students: The use of analogies, extreme cases, and physical intuition. In J. F. Voss, D. N. Perkins, & J. W. Segal (Eds.), Informal reasoning and education (pp. 345–362). Hillsdale: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
- Cole, S. (2004). Merton’s contribution to the sociology of science. Retrieved June 23 from http://sss.sagepub.com/cgi/content/abstract/34/6/829.
- Corbin, J., & Strauss, A. (2008). Basics of qualitative research (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications, Inc.Google Scholar
- Huck, S. W. (2008). Reading statistics and research. Boston: Pearson Education, Inc.Google Scholar
- Jones, N. L. (2007). A code of ethics for the life sciences. Science Engineering and Ethics, 13, 25–43.Google Scholar
- Kaiser, M. (2004). Perspectives on Science, 4, 207-230.Google Scholar
- Kardash, C. M., Wallace, M., & Blockus, L. (2008). Science undergraduates’ perceptions of learning from undergraduate research experiences. In R. Miller, R. F. Rycek, E. Balcetis, S. T. Barney, B. C. Beins, S. R. Burns, R. Smith, & M. E. Ware (Eds.), Developing, promoting, and sustaining the undergraduate research experience in psychology (pp. 258–263). Retrieved February 26, 2008 from http://teachpsych.org/resources/e-books/ur2008/ur2008.php.
- Lave, J. (1995, April). What’s the situation of learning (after two decades of practice)? Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Research Association, San Francisco.Google Scholar
- Lave, J. (1997). The culture of acquisition and the practice of understanding. In D. Kirshner & J. A. Whitson (Eds.), Situated cognition: Social, semiotic, and psychological perspectives (pp. 63–82). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
- Lopatto, D. (2008). Exploring the benefits of undergraduate research experiences: The SURE survey. In R. Taraban & R. L. Blanton (Eds.), Creating effective undergraduate research programs in science: The transformation from student to scientist (pp. 112–132). New York: Teachers’ College Press.Google Scholar
- Merton, R. K. (1942). A note on science and democracy. Journal of Legal and Political Sociology, 1, 115–126.Google Scholar
- Merton, R. K. (1973). The normative structure in science. In R. K. Merton & N. W. Storer (Eds.), The sociology of science: Theoretical and empirical investigations (pp. 267–278). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
- Mitroff, I. (1974). Norms and counter-norms in a select group of the Apollo moon scientists: A case study of the ambivalence of scientists. American Sociological Review, 39(August), 579–595.Google Scholar
- Ormrod, J. (2008). Human learning (5th ed.). Upper Saddle River: Pearson Prentice Hall.Google Scholar
- Pickering, A. (1992). Science as practice and culture. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
- Sadler, T. D., Burgin, S., McKinney, L., & Ponjaun, L. (2010). Learning science through research apprenticeships: A critical review of the literature. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 47, 235–256.Google Scholar
- Schoenfeld, A. H. (1996). In fostering communities of inquiry, must it matter that the teacher knows “the answer”? For the Learning of Mathematics, 16, 11–16.Google Scholar
- Schunn, C. D., & Anderson, J. R. (2001). Acquiring expertise in science: Explorations of what, when, and how. In K. Crowley, C. D. Schunn, & T. Okada (Eds.), Designing for science: Implications from everyday, classroom, and professional settings (pp. 83–114). Mahwah: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
- Stehr, N. (1978). The ethos of science revisited. In J. Gaston (Ed.), The sociology of science (pp. 172–196). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
- Taraban, R., Prensky, E., & Bowen, C. W. (2008). Critical factors in the undergraduate research experience. In R. Taraban & R. L. Blanton (Eds.), Creating effective undergraduate research programs in science: The transformation from student to scientist (pp. 172–188). New York: Columbia Teachers’ College Press.Google Scholar
- Tierney, W. G., & Rhoads, R. A. (1994). Enhancing promotion, tenure, and beyond: Faculty socialization as a cultural process. Washington: George Washington University.Google Scholar
- Wozniak, W. (2008) Advanced laboratory courses in psychology. In R. L. Miller, R. F. Rycek, E. Balcetis, S. T. Barney, B. C. Beins, S. R. Burns, R. Smith, & M. E. Ware (Eds.), Developing, promoting, & sustaining the undergraduate experience in psychology (pp. 116–120). Retrieved March 1, 2008 from the Society for the Teaching of Psychology. http://teachpsych.org/resources/e-books/ur2008/ur2008.php.