Transforming science education through research-driven innovation
February 6, 2020
PRESS RELEASE – February 6, 2020 – Dr. Brian Donovan was selected to receive the NARST 2020 Early Career Research Award (ECRA). This honor recognizes Dr. Brian Donovan’s professional accomplishments as the most significant among other researchers nominated for the ECRA this year.
Dr. Donovan’s research has a focus on the cultural, cognitive and social outcomes of science education. His research contribution to the field of science education is on how the teaching of genetics frames students’ conceptions of race. He has established this knowledge, which is both innovative and original, by investigating how learning in school biology shapes beliefs about human identity and how more appropriate biology instruction on human variation can be used to counteract genetically deterministic thinking that is implicated in racism, sexism, and other forms of prejudice. Dr. Donovan uses theories from social-psychology and cognitive science to design field studies that employ randomized control trials (RCTs), quasi-experiments, cognitive think-alouds, clinical interviews, focus groups, and video-analysis, and insights from his research have begun to show how biology education affects the development of different forms of prejudice.
Since 1928, NARST has promoted research in science education and the communication of knowledge generated by research. The ultimate goal of NARST is to help all learners achieve science literacy. NARST promotes this goal by: 1) encouraging and supporting the application of diverse research methods and theoretical perspectives from multiple disciplines to the investigation of teaching and learning in science; 2) communicating science education research findings to researchers, practitioners, and policy makers; and 3) cooperating with other educational and scientific societies to influence educational policies.
Christine V. McDonald
NARST Awards Committee