We offer conclusions regarding two areas: (a) key features of the literature with regard to theoretical perspectives and methodological orientations, and (b) key findings about factors related to science outcomes of nonmainstream students. Future research should address current limitations in theory building and in research methods. Future research should also pursue those areas that demonstrate promising findings with regard to improving science outcomes and narrowing gaps among diverse student groups, as well as those areas or topics that have been largely ignored in the current literature.
Key Features of the Literature
Research on diversity and equity in science education is a new and developing area. Studies have been conducted from a wide range of theoretical and disciplinary perspectives, ranging from cognitive science, to cross-cultural, to sociopolitical. They have utilized a variety of research methods, ranging from experimental designs, to surveys, to critical ethnography. Experimental studies were rare, relative to the many studies using qualitative methods. No metanalysis of statistical research studies was found in the literature.
Given that student diversity and science education is an emerging area of research, there are many conceptual reviews or articles explicating particular issues and framing such issues for research pursuits. There are only a small number of programmatic lines of research carried out by research teams, and these research programs have emerged only in recent years. The majority of studies are small-scale, descriptive research conducted as single studies by individual researchers.