Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department

Curriculum and Instruction

Major Professor

Allan Feldman, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Jolyn Blank, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Cheryl Ellerbrock, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Karl Jung, Ph.D.


professional development, science learning, science teaching, student participation


The purpose of this dissertation research was to explore how engagement in action research influenced high school science teachers’ beliefs and classroom practices related to student voice and participation. This included exploring any affordances or obstacles they experienced with attempting to increase student voice and participation in their classrooms. I facilitated individual action research projects with the teachers, and they were able to discuss individual action research plans and share ideas with colleagues. Four high school science teachers began this research. While all four teachers were selected as cases, only two of the teachers designed and followed through with their action research plans. The teachers were provided with a hierarchy of student participation and examples of each of the four levels of the hierarchy in order to guide and design their action research. Collected data included transcripts from the action research group meetings, classroom observations, teacher journals, and interviews with teachers. A combination of direct interpretation and thematic coding was used to analyze the data. Direct interpretation involved writing narratives based on what I saw and interpreting events as I experienced them. The teachers either maintained their positive beliefs or formed new beliefs related to the inclusion of student voice. In addition, both teachers successfully used action research as a way to overcome obstacles and increase student voice and participation in their classrooms. This study has implications for teachers who want to use action research to better understand their teaching related to student voice, administrators and teacher educators who want to provide PD opportunities and support to meet individual teacher needs, and researchers who are interested in studying student voice.