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Enterprising Science

Research Briefs

The Enterprising Science project has now ended. Access copies of the Science Capital Teaching Approach or the Improving Science Participation policy recommendations here. Follow the most recent work of the Science Capital team at UCL IOE here. 

Research briefs

Dawson, Emily - 2013 - Developing inclusive informal science education practice: Useful concepts from research

How can we understand what inclusive informal science education might look like in practice? This research brief provides a short overview of what we do know about inclusive informal science learning from research and covers some of the limitations of that research. Starting with some key issues to consider in terms of informal learning research, this paper outlines some practical points, and briefly reviews the relatively small amount of research that is specifically about inclusive informal science learning. The focus of this paper is on conceptual inclusion and a few, specific social positions, notably gender, ethnicity and, to a lesser extent, social class. What this means is that I have not included research about physical inclusion, for example, research on the needs of visually impaired people or British Sign Language users.

Click on the link to download: ES01_Dawson_2013_Inclusive-informal-science-learning

Dawson, Emily and DeWitt, Jen - 2013 - Design based research priciples for science museum collaborations


As a collaborative project Enterprising Science hinges on our ability to construct a mutually beneficial, clear and positive collaborative relationship between teams in two different institutions. Collaborations are notably subject to many interpretations, mixed expectations, overlaps and confusions and have been identified as a key issue in developing successful projects ( Dawson, 2009 ; King & DeWitt, in press ) . This working paper suggests design based research processes could be used in the Enterprising Science project as a starting point for purposefully thinking about the collaborative process over the next 5 years. The cycle of design based research is outlined here in general and in relation to Enterprising Science more specifically. 

Click on the link to download:  ES02_Dawson-and-DeWitt_2013_Design-based-research-priciples-for-science-museum-collaborations

Seakins, Amy - 2013 - GET City project

The Green Energy Technology (GET) City project ( ) is a programme of science and technology afterschool activities with young people aged 10 - 15 living in Lansing, Michigan. The programme is based around sustainability and green energy. The project was funded by a federal grant and started in 2007. The GET City club is based at the Boys and Girls youth club in the city; many young people attend the club after school – on average young people attend four days per week for an average of three to four hours a time ( Barton and Tan 2010 ) . Young people attend the youth club to ‘keep them out of trouble’ and to spend time with friends in a social space. GET City aims to create a ‘third space’ for student engagement in science and technology. Third spaces are places neither at home or school where young people can engage with science in a way that is relevant to their own personal lives ( Barton and Tan 2010 ) . Museums could be seen as third spaces in this way.  

Click on the link to download:  ES03_Seakins_2013_GET-city-project

Seakins, Amy - 2014 - Science experts in classrooms

The notion of bringing experts into classrooms relies on the assumption that these experts may be able to counter stereotypical images of scientists, enable students to form more realistic and positive perceptions of scientists, and that meeting experts will aid the development of students’ own science identities. It is these science identities which would support students to seek out engagement with science, perhaps in the absence of other supporting factors such as resources at home or parental science interest and qualifications. We use identity and learning as the theoretical backgrounds for our work in the Enterprising Science project.  Below is a brief snapshot of some of the literature on expert-student interaction to inform the planning of interactions between experts and students, in terms of what framing and preparation may be required.

Click here to download: ES05 Seakins 2014 Science experts in classrooms


King, Heather and Glakin, Melissa - 2014 - Supporting science learning in out of school contexts

The purpose of the paper is to present an overview of the research literature concerning the benefits of and opportunities for learning outside the classroom. We offer two examples of how such opportunities might be realised in different contexts, before discussing how learning might be managed in order for the experience to be maximised. However, we are aware that learning outside the classroom means different things to different people and so begin by sharing our working definitions

Click here to download: ES06-King-and-Glackin-2014-Supporting science learning in out-of-school contexts

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