Murphy presents on her NSF-funded research on group talk in science classrooms

P. Karen Murphy, professor of education, presented at the 20th annual Coalition for National Science Funding Exhibition and Reception in May on behalf of the American Educational Research Association (AERA).

Murphy, who is serving as the vice president of Division C (Learning and Instruction) and as a member of the executive council of AERA, presented an exhibit on her latest research project, Quality Talk.

“Our team was thrilled to be asked to present at the exhibition. Given that the National Science Foundation (NSF) has a budget of more than $7.2 billion, most of which funds large-scale science initiatives and research projects, it was clearly an honor for the Quality Talk project to be highlighted,” Murphy said. “Only 35 projects were invited out of the multitude funded by the NSF, so it was quite prestigious.”

Quality Talk, initially developed through a collaboration between Ohio State and Penn State, is investigating group discussions as a mechanism for promoting high-level comprehension of text in science classrooms. The current research is being conducted in collaboration with faculty from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and the University of Kentucky.

“I feel that it is important to increase the visibility of intervention research, and at the CNSF exhibit I often shared information about other ongoing research projects being conducted in the College of Education at Penn State. I am also a strong advocate and voice for rigorous scientific research aimed at improving teaching and learning for all students,” Murphy said.

As part of AERA-sponsored panels, Murphy has presented her research in Germany and South Africa, enabling her to build a strong relationship with the members of the organization.

Nearly 300 people attended the Washington event, including eight members of Congress. Some of the visitors to Murphy’s booth included Rep. Chaka Fattah (D-Pa.), Rep. Rush Holt (D-N.J.), Rep. Jerry McNerney (D-Calif.) and Joan Ferrini-Mundy, the assistant director of the NSF’s Directorate for Education and Human Resources.

“One of the primary purposes of the CNSF is to expose Congressional representatives and staffers to the important research being funded by the National Science Foundation. Given the tenor of talk in Congress about social science research, I feel that it was particularly important to share our research at the exhibit,” Murphy said.

“Moreover, we were one of just a few booths highlighting research in science classrooms. As such, I think it was just as important to bring visibility to education research as it was to bring visibility to our specific project. Indeed, the goal of our exhibit was to showcase the science of the research that we are doing in science classrooms.”

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Last Updated June 30, 2014