Finding Partners for Collaboration

How do I find collaborators? As the table to the right indicates, the first step in conducting GER studies across institutions is to find collaborators. That could mean finding others interested in GER or researchers outside our community, e.g., science education researchers, those from other DBER communities, such as physics, biology, chemistry, astronomy, engineering, or geography education researchers, or cognitive scientists. If you are new to GER, the task can seem daunting, but there are some concrete steps you can take:

Read the Literature.

  • Find papers you admire. Ask the authors insightful questions. Ask to visit them. Invite them to be on an project advisory board or on a panel in a workshop. Invite them to be a guest speaker.
  • While you are establishing your career (or your new career) you should plan to read a significant number of GER papers for every one that you publish.

Get Involved in the Community.

  • Attend GER sessions at GSA, AGU, and the Earth Educators' Rendezvous.
  • Become a member of the GER Division of NAGT.
  • Investigate SERC profiles to find people who share your interests.
  • As you attend sessions and hear about the projects people are working on, see if you can become part of someone else's project. This would enable you to gain experience working on a collaborative GER project without the added pressure of being the study's PI.

Connect with Potential Collaborators from Non-Traditional DBER Sources (e.g. individuals within colleges of education).

  • Start at your own institution. Check faculty bio pages of science educators. Invite them for coffee and begin a dialog about your respective research interests. Even if they are not interested in collaborating with you, they may know someone in their network who is.
  • Attend science education conferences like the National Association of Research in Science Teaching Annual International Conference, the Association for Science Teacher Educators International Meeting, or the American Association of GeographersAnnual Meeting.
  • Sign up for email alerts for journals that publish science education research, such as the Journal of Research in Science Teaching, Science Education, the International Journal of Research in Science Teaching,the International Journal of Science and Mathematics Education, Studies in Science Education,and Research in Science Education.Disciplinary communities like physics, biology, chemistry, engineering, geography, and astronomy education have their own journals. All are good sources for papers relevant to your research interests and potential collaborators.

Ask Yourself What Kinds of Collaborators You Are Looking For.

If you are new to collaborative research (or even if you aren't), you are probably looking for collaborators whose expertise complements your own. Thinking first about who you are looking for will enable you to be strategic as you read, attend conferences, and reach out to others in GER and other research communities.

Look for Collaborators that Could Increase the Generalizability of Research Findings.

At what type of institution are you located? What are the demographics? You may want to reach out to researchers working at other types of institutions with different demographics than those at your institution. Alternatively, the goals of the research you want to do may lead you to search for collaborators at institutions similar to your own.

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