Educational Research

Learn more about our educational research studies.

Educational Research

What is educational research?

Educational research furthers our understanding of how people of all ages learn about STEM, using theoretical frameworks to investigate effective pedagogy and understanding how learners’ experiences influence their perspectives about STEM. For example, educational research can help study: 

  • The impacts of programs and curricula on learner STEM interest and identity
  • Effective methods for engaging students in STEM (e.g., place-based education; integrating art and science)
  • Effective formal and informal learning environments
  • Outcomes in STEM career preparation and workforce development

See examples of our research in the publications below.



Tayne, K., Littrell, M. K., Okochi, C., Gold, A. U., & Leckey, E. (2020). Framing action in a youth climate change filmmaking program: Hope, agency, and action across scales. Environmental Education Research, 1-21. doi: 10.1080/13504622.2020.1821870.

Cover of Journal of Geoscience Education.

Littrell, M.K., Okochi, C., Gold, A.U., Leckey, E., Tayne, K., Lynds, S., Williams, V., & Wise, S. (2020). Exploring students’ engagement with place-based environmental challenges through filmmaking: a case study from the Lens on Climate Change program. Journal of Geoscience Education, 68(1), 80-93. doi: 10.1080/10899995.2019.1633510.

Cover of Climate Change Magazine

Morrison, A.L., Rozak, S., Gold, A.U. et al. Quantifying student engagement in learning about climate change using galvanic hand sensors in a controlled educational settingClimatic Change 159, 17–36 (2020).

Cover of Environmental Education Research

Littrell, M. K., Tayne, K., Okochi, C., Leckey, E., Gold, A. U., & Lynds, S. (2020). Student perspectives on climate change through place-based filmmaking. Environmental Education Research, 26 (4), 594-610. doi: 10.1080/13504622.2020.1736516.

Logo for international society of the learning sciences

Tayne, K., Littrell-Baez, M.K., Leckey, E., Gold, A.U. (2018): Engaging with Climate Change as a Socioscientific Issue in an Informal Science Learning Environment. In: Kay, J. & Luckin, R. (eds.) Rethinking Learning in the Digital Age. Making the Learning Sciences Count, International Society of Learning Sciences Conference Proceedings, v. 1, p. 1715-1716.

Logo for American Educational Research Association

Tayne, K., Littrell-Baez, M., Leckey, E., Gold, A. (2018): Toward More Meaningful Climate Change Education: Investigating the Role of Climate Change Solutions. Paper presented at American Educational Research Association Annual Meeting, New York. Extended Abstract

Cover: Geosphere

Anne U. Gold, Philip M. Pendergast, Carol J. Ormand, David A. Budd, Jennifer A. Stempien, Karl J. Mueller, Katherine A. Kravitz (2018); Spatial skills in undergraduate students—Influence of gender, motivation, academic training, and childhood play. Geosphere ; 14 (2): 668–683.

Cover:International Journal of Science Education

Gold, A.U., Pendergast. P., Ormand, C., Budd, D., Mueller, K. (2018): Improving Spatial Thinking Skills among Undergraduate Geology Students through short online Training Exercises. International Journal for Science Education.

Cover: Framework of the Grand Challenges in Geoscience Education Research

Cervato, C., Charlevoix, D., Gold, A., Kandel, H. (2018):  Research on Students' Conceptual Understanding of Environmental, Oceanic, Atmospheric, and Climate Science Content. In: St. John, K. (ed.): A Community Framework for Geoscience Education Research. Framework of the Grand Challenges in Geoscience Education Research. 

Cover: Climatic Change

Libarkin, J.C, Gold, A.U., Harris, S.E., McNeal, K.S, Bowles, R.P. (2018): A new, valid measure of climate change understanding: Associations with risk perception. Climatic Change, 150(3), pages 403-416. 

Cover: JRST

Aksit, O., McNeal, K.S., Libarkin, J.L., Gold, A.U., Harris, S. (2017): Undergraduate Students’ Knowledge and Risk Perception about Climate Change. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 55 n4 p550-572

Cover: Journal of Geoscience Education

Gold, A.U., Kirk, K.B., Morrison, D., Lynds, S., Sullivan, S.B., Grachev, A., Persson, O. (2015): Arctic Climate Connections Curriculum - A Model for Bringing Authentic Data into the Classroom. Journal of Geoscience Education, Vol. 63, pp. 185-197.

Cover: Journal of Geoscience Education

Kirk, K., Gold, A.U., Ledley, T.S., Sullivan, S.B., Manduca, C.A., Mogk, D.W., Wiese, K. (2014): Undergraduate Climate Education: Motivations, Strategies, Successes, and Support. Journal of Geoscience Education, Vol. 62, No. 4, pp. 538-549. 

Cover: Journal of Geoscience Education

Ellins, K.K., Ledley, T.S., Haddad, N., McNeal, K., Gold, A.U., Lynds, S., Libarkin, J. (2014): EarthLabs: Supporting Teacher Professional Development to Facilitate Effective Teaching of Climate Science. Journal of Geoscience Education, Vol. 62, No. 3, pp. 330-342.

Cover: Journal of Geoscience Education

Ledley, T. S., M.R. Taber, S. Lynds, B. Domenico and L. Dahlman. 2012. A model for enabling an effective outcome-oriented communication between the scientific and educational communities. Journal of Geoscience Education. 60: 257-267.

Cover: Journal of Geoscience Education

Laursen, S. L., & Brickley, A. (2011). Focusing the Camera Lens on the Nature of Science: Evidence for the Effectiveness of Documentary Film as a Broader Impacts StrategyJournal of Geoscience Education,59(3), 126-138. doi:10.5408/1.3604825

Cover: Science

Ledley, T.S., L. Dahlman, C. McAuliffe, M. Haddad, M.R. Taber, B. Domenico, S. Lynds and M. Grogan. 2011. Making earth science data accessible and usable in education. Science 333: 1838-1839.


Cover: Physical Geography

McCaffrey, M. S., & Buhr, S. M. (2008). Clarifying climate confusion: Addressing systemic holes, cognitive gaps, and misconceptions through climate literacy. Physical Geography, 29(6), 512-528. 

Keep up to date on opportunities and news from CIRES Education & Outreach