Conducting research using the PIPER resources


The Misconceptions resources on IOPSpark are of value not just in teaching, but to those who conduct research too. While they do not quite comprise a systematic review but can still provide an excellent starting point for researchers working on the topic of conceptual change in physics education.

Surveying the Landscape

If you are a researcher looking to understand how your research fits into the conceptual change landscape, or simply looking to learn more about which misconceptions are commonly encountered in different areas of physics education, we’ve made it easy for you to quickly download a document with all the identified misconceptions for a given domain. Simply head to the Resources to Support the Misconceptions Area page and scroll to the bottom to find links to the misconceptions lists for each domain (as seen in the screenshot below). You’ll also be able to see details of some misconceptions that were not common enough to make it through to the Misconceptions resources on IOPSpark.

Looking for More Detail?

At the bottom of each Misconception page, you’ll find a References section. Here, you can see the individual studies that have found or corroborated the misconception in question. Clicking on the Review Sheet link after each reference will take you to the Google Sheet where you can see the information extracted from the study by our research team.

In the Sheet, you’ll be able to see information about:

  • The specific research methods used in the study, and how the study was designed.
  • Sample sizes for each study, and useful demographic information about the participants.
  • Where relevant, details of any statistical techniques used in the analysis of the data.
  • The details of any instruments used or designed for, the study (for example, the force concept inventory). 
  • A list of the misconceptions uncovered by the study.
  • Suggestions for teaching practice made by the researchers, on the basis of the study.

And so on. 

While this is of course no substitute for reading the paper yourself, we hope that it will help researchers to quickly sift through information from this extremely large body of literature. The resources available were developed by a large team of experienced physics teachers, physics education academics and graduate students, and have undergone an internal quality-assurance process.

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