My early research in Western Australia with Dr Grady Venville focused on young children’s concepts of living things, and particularly their emerging understandings of genetics. This research was published widely including a chapter titled Metaphors for Genes in an international book about metaphor and analogy in science education. One paper, Searching for clarity to teach the complexity of the gene concept, was judged to have the "greatest potential to contribute to the practice of science teaching" and given the Most Valuable Paper award for 2005 from Teaching Science.
The findings of this early research led to an interest in the possible sources of primary children’s knowledge about genes and DNA, culminating in my recent doctoral study investigating the possible influence of entertainment mass media upon children’s conceptual understandings of genetics. Aspects of this research has been published in two international refereed journals, including a substantial paper of 20,000 words in Science and Education and has attracted favourable media attention, but there is more to come!
Other areas of interest include academic persistence with Dr Helen Huntly from CQU, and outcomes-focused planning and teaching, having contributed a chapter to the first edition of the popular science teaching text, The Art of Teaching Science, edited by Dr Grady Venville and Dr Vaille Dawson.