Exploring the research assistants' opinions regarding the effects of gradute course on their research skills and science perception

Yasan, Nehir
The aim of this qualitative study was to explore research assistants’ opinions regarding the courses they take during their graduate study in terms of improving their science perception and research skills. The research questions include research assistants’ assessments about the effectiveness of graduate courses on research skills and science perception, their evaluation of the graduate programs in terms of improving science perception, and their suggestions on the improvement of the quality of the graduate program regarding science perception and research skills. The sample for the present study contains 12 interviewees from four different v institutes of Middle East Technical University. The interviewees are all PhD candidates at METU. The sample was chosen by using purposive sampling. In this study, the data collection instrument was a semi-structured interview guide designed by the researcher. There were 8 main questions and 9 sub-questions. The collected data was analyzed through content analysis. The results of the study are presented under four main themes, which were derived from the research questions. First theme was the assessment of research skills which was about usefulness of courses, competence about research methods, reasons for not taking courses, problems because of not taking them. The second theme was the assessment of science perception which was about contributions of courses, reasons for not taking courses. The third theme was the evaluation of the graduate programs which consisted of should-be-developed and positive aspects. The last theme was about suggestions which could be realized by university administration and by personal efforts. In conclusion, the findings revealed that the research assistants are aware of the importance of research methods course for enhancing research skills, and of effectiveness of history and philosophy of science course regarding the improving of science perception. In this respect, based on literature review and the research assistants’ views it is suggested that history and philosophy of science course utilizing explicitly-reflective inquiry approach should be included curriculum of graduate programs.


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Citation Formats
N. Yasan, “Exploring the research assistants’ opinions regarding the effects of gradute course on their research skills and science perception,” M.S. - Master of Science, Middle East Technical University, 2011.