PISEC investigates the mechanisms by which students assert their ownership over their work and engage in identity-forming scientific practice.

PISEC is working to address the question of how to define productivity in informal settings, where participants can both choose and pursue their own agendas.

PISEC engages in design-based implentation research (DBIR) to assess and improve aspects of program design, for both PISEC and outreach programs in general.

PISEC is involved in a collaborative effort to assess the impact of informal STEM programs on their participants over the long term.

PISEC studies the impact of participation on volunteers' conception of outreach and the institutional communites of practice that develop through participation.

PISEC investigates both the pedagogical practices of volunteers in the program and the factors that influence volunteers' pedagogical preferences.