Hidi, S., & Renninger, K. A. (2006). The four-phase model of interest development. Educational Psychologist, 41(2), 111–127.
A growing body of research explores the ways that science learning experiences can develop people’s interest in science. In this article, the researchers provide a framework for conceptualizing interest in four phases: triggered situational interest; maintained situational interest; emerging individual interest; and well-developed individual interest. They claim that interest is often conceptualized as a characteristic that a person either has or doesn’t have and that educators could benefit from thinking more about how to stimulate interest. This paper has a review of the literature on interest, as well as an examination of alternative models of interest.
Bohnert, A., Fredricks, J., and Randall, E. (2010). Capturing unique dimensions of youth organized activity involvement: Theoretical and methodological considerations. Review of Educational Research, 80(4), 576–610.
This study reviews the literature regarding current approaches to measuring participation in organized out-of-school-time (OST) activity settings and their effects on learners. The paper examines learners’ participation in terms of the dimensions of breadth, intensity, duration, and engagement, discussing the theoretical foundations and methodological approaches for each. The researchers note the dialectical nature of each of these dimensions. For example, participation is likely to become more intense (frequent and lengthy) as it endures over time, and as it endures over time it is more likely to intensify. This study provides a comprehensive overview of relevant measurement issues and approaches.
Barriault, C., & Pearson, D. (2010). Assessing exhibits for learning in science centers: A practical tool. Visitor Studies, 13(1), 90–106.
In informal learning environments such as museums and science centers, researchers sometimes assess the effect of learners’ experiences by looking at their engagement. In this paper, researchers Barriault and Pearson describe a framework that identifies three different levels of visitor engagement with exhibits in a science center: initiation, transition, and breakthrough.
Bathgate, M. E., Schunn, C. D., & Correnti, R. (2014). Children’s motivation toward science across contexts, manner of interaction, and topic. Science Education, 98(2), 189–215. doi:10.1002/sce.21095
Bathgate, Schunn, and Correnti investigate students’ motivation toward science across three dimensions: the context or setting, the way in which students interact with science materials or ideas, and the activity topic. Findings point to the importance of understanding children’s perceptions of specific science topics, not just science in general.
Archer, L., DeWitt, J., Osborne, J., Dillon, J., Willis, B., Wong, B. (2010). “Doing” science versus “being” a scientist: Examining 10/11-year-old schoolchildren’s construction of science through the lens of identity. Science Education, 94(4), 617–639.
Research shows that between ages 10 and 14, children’s interest in science declines sharply. This study investigates 10- and 11-year-old children’s attitudes toward science and relates it to identity, finding that children show a preference for either school (“safe”) science or what they see as grown-up (“dangerous”) science.
Tran, N. A. (2011). The relationship between students’ connections to out-of-school experiences and factors associated with science learning. International Journal of Science Education, 33(12), 1625-1651.
How do students make connections between in-school and out-of school contexts? In this study involving the analysis of questionnaire responses of 1014 11th and 12th graders, the author found that out-of-school experiences are positively associated with the learning outcomes of science learning achievement, science interest, and self-efficacy. However, the analysis also showed that connections made by teachers to out-of-school experiences negatively correlated with student achievement.
Habgood, M. P. J., & Ainsworth, S. E. (2011). Motivating hildren to learn effectively: Exploring the value of intrinsic integration in educational games. Journal of the Learning Sciences, 20(2), 169–206. doi:10.1080/10508406.2010.508029
The authors of this study investigated the educational potential of a digital math game called Zombie Division in an elementary classroom. Habgood & Ainsworth were interested in the effect of what they called “intrinsic integration” –linking the video game’s core mechanics of play to the educational content.
The idea is linked to the field of research called intrinsic motivation, in which the only reward is pleasure in the activity itself. The researchers argue that, while a game like MathBlaster is fun, it does not embody the mathematics lesson as an intrinsic part of game play.
Azevedo, F. S. (2011). Lines of practice: A practice-centered theory of interest relationships. Cognition and Instruction, 29(2), 147–184. doi:10.1080/07370008.2011.556834
What keeps an individual interested and motivates long-term engagement in a practice? This Azevedo article presents a grounded theory of long-term, self-motivated participation based on data gathered through an ethnography of hobbyists’ participation in model rocketry. The author emphasizes that long-term engagement depends on the connection of the activity to the participant’s “larger life.”