Championing the Involvement of Practitioners in the Biochemistry Educational Research Process: A Phenomenological View of the Early Stages of Collaborative Action Research

Christopher A. Nix, Isadore Nottolini, Jonathan D. Caranto, Yulia Gerasimova, Dmitry Kolpashchikov, Erin K. H. Saitta


The disparity between post-secondary STEM instruction and the practices suggested in education and cognitive research is not a novel issue. Despite evidence-based practices being available to practitioners, traditional lecture-based instruction continues to dominate higher STEM education. In this study, we discussed practitioner involvement in biochemistry education research as a potential means to address the gap between research and practice. We used phenomenology as a lens through which to view faculty experiences of participating in a team-based curricular redesign. We administered a concept inventory to examine undergraduate students’ understanding of key concepts and to identify misconceptions. We captured faculty perspectives and reflections on student data through semi-structured interviews, finding that faculty dissatisfaction with traditional practices were rooted in experiences from early on in their teaching careers. Their students demonstrated a lack of conceptual understanding, similar to findings of other studies in undergraduate biochemistry, and key misconceptions the student population held were identified. When examining students’ conceptual understanding data, the faculty gained new insights into where students struggle in the course that they would not have gained without participation in this project. This reinforced their desire to implement curricular change. These findings add to the available data on students’ conceptual understanding in biochemistry and suggest that shared assessments like concept inventories can unify instructors as they engage in team-based curricular reform.

Full Text:




  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2022 Christopher A. Nix, Isadore Nottolini, Jonathan D. Caranto, Yulia Gerasimova, Dmitry Kolpashchikov, Erin K. H. Saitta

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

International Journal of Higher Education
ISSN 1927-6044 (Print) ISSN 1927-6052 (Online) Email:

Copyright © Sciedu Press

To make sure that you can receive messages from us, please add the '' domain to your e-mail 'safe list'. If you do not receive e-mail in your 'inbox', check your 'bulk mail' or 'junk mail' folders.