New Perspectives in Science Education

Edition 14

Accepted Abstracts

Does it really work, then?: Practical Work in Undergraduate Science Education

Marina Constantinou, University of Lincoln, School of Education (United Kingdom)

Ian Abrahams, University of Lincoln (United Kingdom)


Many find it difficult to think of science education without practical work, believing the latter to be an essential part of effective science education. Whilst there has been considerable research on the role of practical work in secondary school education there has been much less in Higher Education and, as such, there remains little research as to how practical work enhances undergraduate students’ conceptual knowledge and motivation as part of their science degree syllabus. Considering that tertiary level l science students have chosen that particular field of study one might reasonably assume that laboratory work, which is stereotypically linked to school science, and has previously been reported as being one of the most enjoyable parts of the subject n the UK, is one of a number of a motivating factors in their decision to study science at University.

This multi-site study will be conducted in England and will explore the effectiveness and affective value of practical work  amongst undergraduate students studying biology, chemistry and physics and will use a model that has been successfully used in the secondary education context in the past. Literature findings and methodological approaches will be discussed along with the rationale behind this research, setting the scene to the implementation process of this project.


Practical work, undergraduate, tertiary, sciences, effectiveness, affective value 


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