Research

The Lawrence Hall of Science, as the public science center of the University of California, Berkeley, is a learning lab — a place where world-class researchers engage with key questions and major challenges that face the field of science, technology, engineering, and math education. We conduct research in aid of developing new products and programs (our own and others), to tighten the research-practice cycle, and to ensure broadening participation through learning how to break down systemic barriers and inequities in STEM education.

A young child is looking through a tube at a science exhibit

Expertise

Our team includes researchers with extensive experience conducting and presenting research in formal and informal STEM education, with methodological expertise leading large and small scale evaluations, design-based research, assessment and measurement development, participatory and community based-research, and supporting broader impacts for core research conducted across STEM fields. Further, each of the Lawrence’s four strategic initiatives work to advance our research agenda for questions related to K12 STEM education, STEM pathways, environmental education, and learning at the intersection of science, technology, and society.

Our Work

Sunstones at The Lawrence

Environmental Protectors Project

This four-year National Science Foundation-funded project engages youth of color between 14 and 18 years of age, who live in […]

Two high school students record environmental data collected in EBAYS program

Energy Interns Program: Pathways to STEM Careers

The Lawrence Hall of Science received a three-year National Science Foundation (NSF) grant (award #1849958) to create the Energy Interns […]

Children playing on the DNA sculpture at the Lawrence

Investigating Measurement of STEM Engagement and Advocacy in Older Adults

Researchers and learning designers from the University of California, Berkeley wanted to find out more about how older adults engage […]

Two children and a staff member are working together during a science activity.

Augmenting Museum Visits: Guiding Families to Share in the Learning

The Lawrence Hall of Science is engaging in a three-year project (Institute of Museum and Library Services, Grant #MG-40-18-0005-18) that […]

Research Spotlight

These videos showcase federally funded projects at the Lawrence aimed at improving STEM and computer science education. Videos share strategies to broaden participation, increase access, and equity.

View all of our Research Spotlight Videos.

Research Briefs

Two adults are conducting research outdoors.

How is BEETLES Changing Outdoor Science Education?

May 10, 2021

Discover the long-term positive impact on the field of outdoor science education of the Better Environmental Education, Teaching, Learning, and Expertise Sharing (BEETLES) project in our latest research brief.

Two sets of hands as photos are examined.

Designing NGSS Assessments for Young Learners

March 11, 2021

Researchers at The Lawrence, in collaboration with WestEd and SRI International, are developing an approach to assessing science learning in first grade. Learn more about the Next Generation Science Assessments for Young Scientists.

Get In Touch

Have questions about the work that we do? We’d love to speak to you.

Contact Mac Cannady

The Research Group

Through our work we  promote powerful learning opportunities for all students in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM). We conduct research on innovations in STEM learning, particularly those that reach chronically underserved and underrepresented populations. Our work produces insights to inform research, policy, and practice in STEM education.

Values/Mission

We believe that the utility and validity of our work is enhanced through a culturally responsive and equitable stance that gives explicit attention to issues of race, gender, social class, power and privilege, and the voices of populations that have been systematically marginalized and underserved. Embedded in our work is the practice of continuing reflective conversations with ourselves and others around the alignment of aspirations/intentions and actions.

Examples of what we do

Products

Our researchers are highly skilled at presenting findings and insights before diverse audiences. At the Research Group, we tailor our research dissemination efforts to suit each project’s type and needs. We choose from a variety of dissemination options, including: reports (formal research reports, web-based reports, legislative reports, and the like); publications (peer-reviewed journals, educator venues, and others); research and policy briefs; and presentations to various stakeholders. We often present to project participants, leaders and developers, organizational boards, and policy-making bodies. We also present at national, state, and regional conferences such as those of the American Educational Research Association, the American Evaluation Association, the Association of Science-Technology Centers, the National Association of Research in Science Teaching, the National Science Teachers Association, and the Visitor Studies Association.

Evaluation Services

Methods and Products

Our evaluation services include the following methods and products:

  • Logic Models—Articulating the underlying program theory, whether it be for action or for change, by visually representing the inherent linkages of program inputs, outputs, and outcomes in the short, medium, or long term.
  • Empirical Study Design—Utilizing multiple research methods, modes, and theories to illuminate and assess the nuanced effects and meaning of a program. Depending on the study scope, our proposed designs (which may include mixed-method, quasi-experimental, or case study formats) employ one or more of the following data collection methods:
    • Interview
    • Observation
    • Survey
    • Document analysis
  • Panel Review—Leveraging the knowledge and expertise of internal as well as external stakeholders to verify and inform program trajectory and to validate evaluation findings at strategic points during a program evaluation.
  • Technical Reports and Briefs—Attending to the needs of the program, the sponsor, and the stakeholders, we produce a variety of report types that ultimately promote the effective use of evaluation findings. Reporting styles include full technical reports, briefing memoranda, visual software presentations, research literature reviews, and policy briefs, among others.
Assessment

We provide a range of assessment services for various projects and organizations. Our assessment work is multifaceted and specifically designed for the learning setting in which Science, Technology, Education, and Mathematics (STEM) education takes place. Our services may include any or all of the following:

  • Designing assessment systems and support materials
  • Scoring a system design with exemplar identification
  • Developing items and scaling them
  • Scanning/scoring fixed-choice responses
  • Scoring constructed responses
  • Gathering and evaluating validity evidence (testing construct validity)
  • Performing data analysis and supplying suitable psychometrics
  • Reporting out

Our Team

Members of our team have considerable experience and expertise in both qualitative and quantitative research methods and have amassed deep content knowledge in science and mathematics.