Science Outreach: A Dilemmatic Approach

Figure: Presenters Dr Veronica McCauley (School of Education, NUI Galway) and Dr Diogo Martins Gomes (Cambridge Science Centre, UK)
Nov 26 2018 Posted: 15:44 GMT

Veronica presenting

Figure: Presenter Dr Veronica McCauley (Lecturer in Science Education, School of Education, NUI Galway)

Dr Veronica McCauley ( ), lecturer in science education, NUI Galway recently co-presented with her former School of Education doctoral student, Dr. Diogo Martins Gomes (@dgomes1307) who is the Science Communicators' Team Leader at the Cambridge Science Centre in the UK.  Both were invited to present a paper at the inaugural MORSE conference (, which is the first conference that singularly promotes discussion and teaching of methods of research in science education.  The conference was held on 2nd November 2018 at Dublin Institute of Technology.

The abstract for the talk is below:


Decision making in research is critical. Narrowing down the research problem, eliciting specific research questions and identifying a research methodology to draw adequate insight is an ongoing challenge where we continue to question each alternative.  This seminar invites you to consider decision making as a provoked and exploratory research methodology.  Our overarching research aim was to examine and compare primary teachers’ and outreach practitioners’ understanding and   perception of a constructivist science pedagogy, in an effort to understand the potential of a teacher-outreach partnership.  From a qualitative perspective, we took a dialectic pragmatic stance.  Conceptual and pedagogical dichotomies were created from educational theories and their practical application.  These dilemmas were then illustrated through video animation in order to entice the participants to consider each virtual concept within the daily practice of their classroom.  A brief overview will be given of our research context, question, and the methodological design of three conceptual and three pedagogical dichotomies and insight into the dilemmatic method that was enacted with 31 teachers and 30 outreach practitioners.  During the seminar, we will also invite you to try out some data analysis with us, to get a sense of the type of data that we analysed and the fun we had in trying to make sense of it all.   

Relevant papers that were discussed during the talk to illustrate the dilemmatic methodology are below:

Martins Gomes, D. and V. McCauley (2016) 'Dialectical dividends: fostering hybridity of new pedagogical practices and partnerships in science education and outreach'. International Journal Of Science Education

McCauley, V., Martins Gomes, D. and Davison, K. (2018) 'Constructivism in the third space: challenging pedagogical perceptions of science outreach and science education'. International Journal of Science Education. Part B: Communication and Public Engagement

Jim Lenaghan

School of Education

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