Research Projects

Common European Numeracy Framework

Four countries The Netherlands, Austria, Spain, and Ireland took the initiative to initiate the first steps to come to a Common European Numeracy Framework (CENF)..

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WiSTEM2D Scholars Award Program

The awards will fund one woman per discipline who has completed her advanced degree, who is working as an assistant professor and who is not yet tenured at an accredited university or design institution.

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Student Mathematical Preparedness for Third-Level STEM Degrees

The aim of this project is to explore students’ mathematical preparedness for STEM education at tertiary level in the Irish context.

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What’s the Point? Teachers Perspectives’ on the Incentive of Bonus Points for Studying Higher Level Mathematics

In Ireland, a Bonus Points Initiative [BPI] was introduced in 2012 for mathematics.

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Bridging the Mathematical Divide: Investigating the role of manipulatives in the transition from primary to post-primary mathematics education

This cross border study investigates the issues surrounding the transition from primary to secondary mathematics education from the perspective of teachers.

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Evaluation of the Faculty of Education and Health Sciences Dean’s Post-Doctoral Research Fellowship Programme

The Research Fellowship Programme represents a substantial strategic investment by the Faculty of Education and Health Sciences, with the initial cohort comprising six Dean's Fellows appointed for three years.

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Primary and Post Primary teachers’ insights into their teaching of algebra

This research focuses on teachers’ insights into their teaching of algebra, particularly during the transition from primary to post-primary school.

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Career Mathways

Career Mathways is a novel initiative developed by a research team at the University of Limerick. It aims to highlight the role of STEM, and in particular mathematics, in a variety of different professions.

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An Investigation into Affect and Factors of Influence in Post-Primary Mathematics Education

This study is a two person joint project that is being conducted at the University of Limerick as part of the Professional Masters of Education (Mathematics).

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Out of Field Mathematics Teachers’ Action Research

An empirical study of the action research projects conducted by out-of-field (OOF) mathematics teachers as participants of the Professional Diploma in Mathematics for Teaching (PDMT).

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A Global Approach to the Gender Gap in Mathematical, Computing, and Natural Sciences: How to Measure It, How to Reduce It?

Description Mathematical and natural sciences have long and honorable traditions of participation by highly creative women contributors.

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Pre-service teachers’ understanding of the concept of numeracy as a cross curricular subject in post – primary schools in Ireland

At present, internationally and in Ireland, there is a conscious effort being made to improve and raise the profile of the teaching and learning of numeracy (DES 2011; Goos et al 2014; Bennison 2015; Askew 2015).

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Mathematical Modelling for Teachers: A practical guide to applicable mathematics education

This project came about after a number of EPISTEM staff along with a colleague from the School of Education (UL) were invited by an academic from the University of Linz, Austria to develop a book for English speaking secondary teachers

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Mind the Gap: Investigating the transition from primary to second level mathematics education

This cross border study investigates the issues surrounding the transition from primary to secondary mathematics education from the perspective of teachers.

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Supporting the Implementation of Scientific Practices in Lebanon

Professor Sibel Erduran will collaborate with Professor Zoubeida Dagher, University of Delaware, USA, Professor Saouma BouJaoude, American University of Beirut, Lebanon, and Dr Ebru Kaya, Bogazici University, Turkey on a project funded by NARST for a year in 2015.

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Incorporating Nature of Science in Science Teacher Education

A central component of scientific literacy is having an adequate understanding of the ‘Nature of Science’ [NOS] (AAAS 1990, 1993, Klopfer 1969). Developing NOS understanding is one of the most commonly stated objectives for science education (Abd-El-Khalick and Lederman 2000).  The importance of this objective has recently been addressed in the proposed reform of the Irish Junior Cycle (middle school) Science curriculum, where the ‘Nature of Science’ (NOS) theme is an overarching feature of all teaching and learning in the draft curriculum document for consultation.
Researcher: Alison Cullinane
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Investigating Problem Solving in Mathematics by pre-service teachers

There is a strong emphasis on problem-solving in the new Project Maths syllabus. In each of the five strands, it is stated that students should be able to ‘explore patterns and formulate conjectures, explain findings and justify conclusions and to apply knowledge and skills to solve problems in familiar and unfamiliar contexts’.

Initial reviews by the pilot schools who engaged with Project Maths revealed a potential problem with both the confidence levels in problem solving among teachers and students and also, the time available for problem solving.

This project is aimed at investigating and improving how pre-service teachers approach solving problems which are unfamiliar to them.
Researcher: Aoife Guerin
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An Investigation into the Factors Affecting Students’ Motivation in Junior Cycle Science

My research is focused on the problem of students’ decline in motivation in junior cycle science in Ireland. For decades schools have been repeatedly faulted by would-be reformers for their failure to motivate and interest students (Lepper et al. 1997). School remains “detached from the real world [and] distant from the rest of students’ lives” (Slade and Trent, 2000). More specifically, it has been found in many countries throughout the world that there are problems in creating a climate where young people feel enthusiastic about their experiences in school science lessons (Bennett 2010). In fact, one of the greatest challenges for teachers, Theobald (2006) asserts, remains stimulating students’ motivation to learn.
Researcher: Beulah McManus
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A Purpose-Built Model for the Effective Teaching of Trigonometry: A Transformation of the van Hiele Model

There is widespread acknowledgement that students in second and third-level education have difficulty with trigonometry. This is not only the case domestically in Ireland, but also internationally. Evidence exists that trigonometry is not being taught well at second-level. The fact that many teachers have not studied mathematics to degree level is contributing to this issue. Therefore, students are unprepared in trigonometry upon entering third-level education and fall further behind in their undergraduate mathematical studies. In addition, the teaching and learning of trigonometry is an under-researched issue worldwide.
Researcher: Richard Walsh
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Enhancing Secondary School Students’ Entrepreneurial Attitudes through Argumentation in Science Education: Comparative Curriculum Case Studies between Turkey and the Republic of Ireland

Economics of science is a relatively new addition to the broad range of interdisciplinary literature that has implications for science education research (Irzik, 2013). Economics of science have aimed to understand the behaviour of scientists, the distribution of resources and the financial operation of scientific institutions. Entrepreneurship has a key role for this aim. I focus on creating entrepreneurial scientists and investigating implications of entrepreneurship for science education in the context of argumentation.
Researcher: Sila Kaya
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Science Teachers’ Thinking: A longitudinal exploration of the relationship between personal epistemologies and perceptions of educational theory.

A personal epistemology is an individual’s set of beliefs about the nature of knowledge and knowing (Hofer 2000; Brownlee et al. 2011). These beliefs address questions such as: Where does knowledge come from? What counts as knowledge? Does knowledge change? Is knowledge isolated and simple or integrated and complex?
Researcher: Liam Guilfoyle
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An Evaluation Research Project of the Celebrate Science Festival 2014

A research evaluation study of the Celebrate Science Festival 2014 was undertaken by Michelle Starr and Liam Guilfoyle, EPI-STEM and was funded by Science Foundation Ireland. The Celebrate Science Festival was held during science week, November 9th – 16th 2014.
Researchers: Michelle Starr and Liam Guilfoyle
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An investigation into the effectiveness of Maths Eyes in different learning environments.

Although the Maths Eye initiative has been positively received by schools, students, adult learners and the wider community, the evidence to support this is so far only anecdotal. The purpose of this research is to establish whether or not the initiative of Maths Eyes contributes to increasing the mathematical confidence and whether or not influences a positive change in attitudes of those who engage in the programme.
Researcher: Ms Aoife Smith BSc
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To Inform the Pedagogical Reform of General Chemistry through the Development of Pedagogical Interventions that aim to improve the learning experiences and outcomes of Undergraduate Students’ and Post-Graduate Laboratory Demonstrators

A report by the Higher Education Authority (HEA, 2014), states that the non-progression rates of students from Level 8, University degree programs has remained at 9% from 2007 to 2011. It goes on to inform how the successful completion of the first year of undergraduate study is key to going on to achieve a Higher Education qualification. To facilitate the reduction of this non-progression rate, Universities should be committed to enhancing and strengthening the approaches to teaching and learning which they employ.

This research project sets out to ascertain successful progression, to work towards achieving the aims set out by the Engaged Learning strategy and to enhance students’ learning experiences during General Chemistry.
Researcher: Aishling Flaherty
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To determine and overcome misconceptions in Biology held by students and educators in the Irish Education System.

The investigation of misconceptions in Biology has been a substantive feature of the work of the Science Education research community for the past 30 years. The importance of investigating misconceptions is emphasised by the number of pre-service teachers, qualified teachers and teacher educators that possess misconceptions and are transferring these misconceptions to the students they teach. Misconceptions are a major concern as students’ ability to learn new scientific information depends greatly on their pre-existing beliefs. It is this knowledge that determines what new knowledge they can construct and retain, therefore what they already know about a topic will either enhance or hinder their learning of the correct body of knowledge. Science and Technology have become a major focus of government policy, and hence Science education is becoming increasingly important in Ireland
Researcher: Elaine Galvin
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Designing, Developing and Evaluating a Model for Integrated Science and Mathematics at Lower Secondary-Level in Ireland

Science and mathematics are closely related in the physical world, yet as school subjects they can be quite separate. Science and mathematics integration has been recommended as a way to increase student conceptual understanding of, interest in, and motivation to learn both subjects. Hence this research has been concerned with the design, development and evaluation of a model for science and mathematics integration.
Researcher: Gráinne Walshe
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Teaching nature of science through popular video games in secondary school level

My PhD thesis investigates the effectiveness of video games for teaching nature of science (NoS) in secondary school level. Nature of science (NoS) is one of the predominant research areas in science education and it has gain great importance in the past few decades. Definitions of NoS presented in the literature are diverse but it basically refers philosophy of science and addresses the questions what makes science ‘science’ and how science works?
Researcher: Onur Imren
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