Ph.D. Education (Science Education), School of Teaching and Learning, The Ohio State University, 2007
M.S. Biology, Case Western Reserve University, 2000
B.A. Biology, Case Western Reserve University, 1998
I hold a dual appointment with the Department of Biological Sciences in the College of Science and Mathematics and the Department of Teacher Education in the College of Education and Human Services.
In order to design an experiment, write a lab report, explain why a phenomenon happens, or even decide what medical treatment to use, you use scientific reasoning skills. These skills are important to both scientists and non-scientists alike and are sometimes referred to as “scientific habits of mind.”
There are two main types of scientific reasoning skills investigated in the literature: hypothetico-deductive reasoning skills and argumentation. Hypothetico-deductive reasoning skills are used when an individual develops a hypothesis (“if something occurs”), designs an experiment to test the hypothesis (“and I do this”), and deduces a prediction ("then this will happen"). Scientific reasoning using argumentation occurs when an individual creates and supports a conclusion based on experimental data, inferences, and scientific theory. My research interests are centered on the interaction and development of both these types of scientific reasoning skills, especially in undergraduate students.
My current work is further development of a paper and pencil instrument to assess the quality of argumentation in individuals. I will also study the characteristics of instruction that help to promote scientific reasoning skills both in the short- and long-term. The overall goal is to develop a curriculum based on these findings.
For both graduate and undergraduate students interested in science teaching and learning, there are opportunities available for science education research. Students may have the opportunity to collect data through pre/post assessments, interviews, audio and videotaping, as well as surveys. Students will participate in data analysis that includes transcribing audio and videotape data, statistical analysis using SPSS, and qualitative analysis. There are also opportunities to develop and implement instruments, surveys, and curriculum to promote scientific reasoning.
Koenig, K., Schen, M., Edwards, M. & Bao, L. (2012). Addressing STEM retention through a scientific thought and methods course. Journal of College Science Teaching, 41(4), 23-29.
Koenig, K., Schen, M. & Bao, L. (2012). Explicitly targeting pre-service teacher scientific reasoning abilities and understanding of nature of science through an introductory science course. Science Educator, 21(2), 1-9.
Schen, M. (in press). A comparison of biology majors’ written argumentation skills across the curriculum. Journal of Biological Education.
Papers Presented at NARST
Koenig, K., Bao, L. & Schen, M. (March, 2012). Using specialized instruction to develop scientific reasoning abilities in teacher candidates. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the National Association for Research in Science Teaching, Indianapolis, IN.
Schen, M. (March, 2012). Assessment of argumentation skills through individual written instruments and lab reports in introductory biology. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the National Association for Research in Science Teaching, Indianapolis, IN.
Schen NARST 2012 paper
Schen, M., Koenig, K. (April, 2009). Using college math placement exam scores to predict achievement in introductory biology. Paper presented at the meeting of the National Association for Research in Science Teaching, Anaheim, CA.
Schen NARST 2009 paper
Schen, M. (March, 2008). Scientific reasoning skills development in an introductory biology course sequence for undergraduates. Paper presented at the annual meeting of theNational Association for Research in Science Teaching, Baltimore, MD.
Schen NARST 2008 paper