Review of grounded theory-mixed methods analysis and potential application to forensic science education research and practice
Keywords:Grounded Theory, Forensic Education, Educational Standards, Education Best Practices, Pedagogy, synchronous, asynchronous, traditional, hybrid, on-line
Grounded theory has been used in qualitative research for over sixty years and in many subject areas. It has allowed researchers to “ground” their theory in data that is systematically gathered, sampled, coded, categorized, and analyzed. Within science technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education, programs focused on forensic science may benefit from grounded theory mixed methods research that assesses program design, content delivery, student experiences, faculty demographics, and allocated resources. This study set out to identify and characterize current peer reviewed articles in grounded theory mixed methods research in STEM education. A literature search using PubMed (US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, USA) and Google Scholar (Mountain View, CA, USA) was conducted to identify relevant peer-reviewed articles using the search terms "grounded theory", "research", "science”, “technology”, “engineering”, “mathematics”, “education”, “graduate”, “undergraduate”, “educational standards”, and “STEM”. Research from the past decade (range 2011-2021) was targeted for both graduate and undergraduate education. Using these key terms and search parameters, 165 results in Google Scholar and 20 in PubMed were identified. However, after a closer examination, only 37 and 16, respectively, of the articles were relevant to grounded theory mixed method analysis in higher education research (n=53). Using the identified articles in educational research and practice revealed a total of 52 themes that occurred in at least two or more journal articles. The most studied themes were “applied practice” (18 items), “culture/environments/community/climate/sociocognitive” (17 items), “communication/handoffs/interpersonal skills” (14 items), “pedagogy” (13 items), “knowledge building/acquisition/learning theory” (12 items), “resources (education and research)” (11 items), and “innovation” (11 items). This review highlights numerous educational research themes or key topics that may help us understand and improve educational outcomes in STEM higher education including forensic science. It is essential that future forensic scientists obtain a level of academic/technical competence, communication/interpersonal skills, protective mechanisms, adaptive skills, professional attitudes, and ethical judgment. These themes should be evaluated with a focus on forensic science to enhance the education students receive and the skills they start out with in their careers.
Copyright (c) 2022 Sabra Botch-Jones, Ronald Thrasher, Bavette Miller, PhD, James Hess, EdD, Jarrad Wagner, PhD
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