Evaluation of the Astronomy Research Seminar


  • Rachel Freed Institute for Student Astronomical Research


The need for a scientifically literate populace is clear now more than ever in recent human history as evidenced by global climate change and current political discourse and opining around it. Several decades of research and practice in science education still appear to leave much to be desired in terms of student understanding about the nature of science, scientific research and communication, and the need for scientific literacy. While there are potentially many avenues for students to pursue science in education and career paths, the Astronomy Research Seminar seems to have tapped into an intrinsic value in participating within and contributing to a Community-of-Practice as a way of learning. Based on an initial evaluation of students’ experience and educational and career choices, the seminar has a meaningful impact on students. Furthermore, for many individuals it transforms their identities as scientists or at least budding-scientists and gives them a glimpse into the idea that they can participate in the scientific endeavor. As has been shown recently (Freed 2019) the seminar model is scalable as evidenced by the numerous variations that have developed over the past several years. This paper provides a deeper look into how students think and feel about their research experience in the seminar.