About this research
How was the research carried out?
The research involved qualitative research methods including face-to-face interviews with children and young people aged 9 to 19 years, teachers, youth workers and parents between December 2013 and February 2014. Interviews took place in four locations across the UK including Glasgow.
What are the strengths of the research methodology?
Qualitative methods, such as face-to-face interviews, allow for issues to be explored in-depth and also for researchers to explore any unexpected areas which may emerge on the day. Interviews also allow for researchers to develop rapport with respondents.
What is the context for this research?
In 2011, the Wellcome Trust commissioned two reports to explore what informal science learning opportunities existed outwith school in the UK, to identify who was engaging with them, what impact they had on children and young people’s interest in science and on their future opportunities. The reports highlighted that children and young people from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds were less likely to have access to these types of opportunities. The Wellcome Trust felt further research was necessary to identify how best to engage with this group. Although Glasgow was featured, the majority of the research took place in different areas of the UK. This means that due to the different policy and educational contexts, the findings may need to be contextualised for application in Scotland.
The following questions may provide a stimulus for discussion:
- In your setting, are you aware of any gaps in science participation between learners from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds and their peers?
- What can you do to engage with learners from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds in relation to science subjects?
About the author(s)
This research report was commissioned by the Wellcome Trust and written by Rebecca Atkinson, Kate Siddall and Carolynne Mason (Platypus Research).
Mujtaba, T. and Reiss, M.J. (2012). What Sort of Girl Wants to Study Physics After the Age of 16? Findings From a Large-Scale UK Survey. London: Institute of Education, University of London.
Silverman, D. (2010). Interpreting Qualitative Data (Sage Publications Ltd). 4th. Ed.
This research was not commissioned by Education Scotland and the findings, recommendations and conclusions do not necessarily reflect the views of Education Scotland.
Atkinson, R., Siddall, K. and Mason, C. (2014). Experiments in Engagement: Research into Engagement Activities with Young People from Disadvantaged Backgrounds. London: Wellcome Trust.
Link(s) to full research article
Experiments in Engagement: Research into engagement activities with young people from disadvantaged backgrounds