Study of Informal Science Resource Use among Young Adults and Their Families

September 15th, 2009 - February 28th, 2011 | PROJECT

The investigators will collect data on a broad range of informal science education activities of an existing sample of approximately 3,500 adults across the U.S. It will relate these activities to prior forms of science involvement and to various indicators of lifelong STEM learning. The proposed work is an extension of the Longitudinal Study of American Youth (LSAY), a study funded by NSF since 1986 and still ongoing. Prior work has tracked two national cohorts of students who were originally representative of public middle and high schools, focusing on their science and mathematics course enrollment, content, achievement, and career choices, and informed by data from their parents and teachers. The project team has maintained very high levels of continued participation by the approximately 5,000 students, now aged 34-38, many of whom have families of their own. The project will extend the planned surveys for 2009 and 2010 to examine how these adults use informal science education resources such as museums, libraries, books, magazines, newspapers, television, and the Internet. The project will provide baseline data on informal science education resource use in the Internet era for a large and diverse sample. It will allow investigation of the relationships of current informal science learning behaviors, both individual and intergenerational, to prior learning variables such as school science achievement, parental involvement, college experience, career choice, and prior use of informal learning resources while respondents were school-aged.

Project Website(s)

(no project website provided)

Team Members

Jon Miller, Principal Investigator, Michigan State University
John Dennis, Co-Principal Investigator, Michigan State University
Linda Kimmel, Co-Principal Investigator, Michigan State University


Funding Source: NSF
Funding Program: REAL
Award Number: 0917535
Funding Amount: 413111


Audience: Adults | Evaluators | Museum | ISE Professionals
Discipline: Education and learning science | General STEM
Resource Type: Project Descriptions
Environment Type: Exhibitions | Media and Technology | Public Programs