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Defining and Measuring Students’ Interest in Biology: An Analysis of the Biology Education Literature
University of Colorado.
Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Science and Mathematics Education. Department of Biological Sciences, Florida International University, Miami.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-1861-6589
Florida International University.
University of Colorado.
2019 (English)In: CBE - Life Sciences Education, ISSN 1931-7913, E-ISSN 1931-7913, Vol. 18, no 3, article id ar34Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Understanding how students develop biology interests and the roles interest plays in biology contexts could help instructors and researchers to increase science, technology, engineering, and mathematics students’ motivation and persistence. However, it is currently unclear how interest has been defined or measured in the biology education research literature. We analyzed this body of literature to determine how interest has been defined and used by the biology education research community. Specifically, we determined the extent to which previously published work drew on theories that conceptualize interest. Further, we identified studies that measured student interest in biology and characterized the types of measures used. Our findings indicate that biology education researchers typically describe interest as a relationship involving positive feelings between an individual and a physical object, activity, or topic of focus. We also found that interest is often not defined, theories involving interest are not often consulted, and the most common measures of interest only assess a single aspect of the construct. On the basis of these results, we make suggestions for future research seeking to examine biology students’ interest. We hope that this analysis can serve as tool for biology educators to improve their own investigations of students’ interest and measure outcomes of interest-generating educational activities.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
The American Society for Cell Biology , 2019. Vol. 18, no 3, article id ar34
Keywords [en]
interest, biology education, interest measurement, interest theory, literature review
National Category
Didactics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-163209DOI: 10.1187/cbe.19-02-0037ISI: 000482629900014PubMedID: 31397650Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85071280723OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-163209DiVA, id: diva2:1350084
Available from: 2019-09-10 Created: 2019-09-10 Last updated: 2019-09-13Bibliographically approved

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Knekta, Eva

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