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Abstract Title: You pick my brain and I'll pick yours: a pilot case study of research-practice partnership in an informal physics space
Abstract Type: Contributed Poster Presentation
Abstract: Research-Practice Partnership (RPP) is recognized as a valuable tool for generating actionable research and improving educational practices by involving practitioners and researchers in both research and the implementation of research findings. However, creating and maintaining such partnerships is challenging; it requires time and financial resources, and a team with diverse expertise and high commitment. Despite their wide recognition in educational fields, RPPs are under-studied in physics education research and literature in informal physics programs is sparse. In this paper, we present a case study of RPP between a physics education researcher and an informal physics practitioner. We describe the development and maintenance of this partnership and use qualitative and ethnographic methods to investigate practitioner-driven concerns about self-evaluation practices and attendance in the program under study, an informal conference for physics teachers. We found evidence that surveys and ethnographic interviews provided complementary data: surveys allowed the practitioner to learn about their audience's motivations, needs, and perception of the program's value. Ethnographic interviews were particularly useful as a means to elicit actionable ideas for how conference organizers might better support teacher attendance. In addition, participating in the RPP provided the practitioner with skills that they can carry forward into their future assessment work and that this partnership yielded actionable insights beneficial to both practitioners and audience. Our research team was able to overcome inherent challenges of RPP by exploring each side's language and cultural norms, and maintained a long-term partnership despite limitations. Our experience suggests that RPPs in informal physics spaces face many of the same challenges as those conducted in formal education settings, and that best practices documented for formal education RPPs will also be of benefit to them.
Session Time: Poster Session 1
Poster Number: I-34
Contributed Paper Record: Contributed Paper Information
Contributed Paper Download: Download Contributed Paper

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Dena Izadi
Michigan State University, MI and Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics, University of Califronia Santa Barbara, CA
MI Phone: 5178994637
and Co-Presenter(s)
Margaret F. Sherriffs (she/her), Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics, Kohn Hall, University of California, Santa Barbara CA 93106

Isabella Gennuso (she/her), Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics, Kohn Hall, University of California, Santa Barbara CA 93106

Contributed Poster

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