Learning Science through Research Apprenticeships: A Critical Review of the Literature Academic Article uri icon


  • AbstractScience education models for secondary and college students as well as K12 teachers have been dominated by classroombased approaches. Recently, research apprenticeships wherein learners worked with practicing scientists on authentic scientific research have become increasingly popular. The purpose of this critical review of the literature was to review and synthesize empirical studies that have explored learning outcomes associated with research apprenticeships for science learners. We reviewed 53 studies of scientific research apprenticeship experiences for secondary students, undergraduates and teachers, both preservice and inservice. The review explored various learning outcomes associated with participation in research apprenticeships. These outcomes included effects of apprenticeship experiences on participant career aspirations, ideas about the nature of science (NOS), understandings of scientific content, confidence for doing science and intellectual development. The extant literature supported many of the presumed positive associations between apprenticeship experiences and desired learning outcomes, but findings related to some themes (e.g., NOS understandings) supported conflicting conclusions. Implications included importance of the length of the apprenticeship, need to explicitly place attention on desired outcomes, and engagement of participants. 2009 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Res Sci Teach 47:235256, 2010

published proceedings


altmetric score

  • 1.5

author list (cited authors)

  • Sadler, T. D., Burgin, S., McKinney, L., & Ponjuan, L.

citation count

  • 264

complete list of authors

  • Sadler, Troy D||Burgin, Stephen||McKinney, Lyle||Ponjuan, Luis

publication date

  • March 2010