Attitudes of secondary school students towards doing research and design activities

T. E. Vossen*, I. Henze, R. C.A. Rippe, J. H. Van Driel, M. J. De Vries

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)
567 Downloads (Pure)


Research and design activities are often employed in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics) education. This study aims to examine students’ attitudes towards doing research and design activities in secondary school, among two groups of students: (1) students that take the quite recently introduced Dutch subject O&O (research & design), in which students perform authentic research and design projects related to STEM disciplines; and (2) students that do not take O&O. The subject O&O is only taught at a limited number of certified, so called ‘Technasium’, schools. A questionnaire, developed by the authors, was completed by 1625 students from Grades 8 and 11. Unlike previous studies on student attitudes, which usually use abstract concepts like ‘science’ or ‘technology’, the questionnaire used in this study contains active verbs to characterise research and design activities. The results showed that, in general, students who took the subject O&O had more positive attitudes towards doing research and design activities than regular students. Both student groups appeared to find doing design activities more enjoyable than doing research activities. The results of this study provide useful information for teachers as well as teacher educators about the existing attitudes of students, for example their preference for design projects over research projects.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1629-1652
JournalInternational Journal of Science Education
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • design activities
  • research activities
  • secondary school
  • STEM
  • Student attitudes


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