In addition to weekly fieldsite participation, you will be able to engage in a project. Ideally these will be linked, but that is not required.

Phys 4460/5460: Final Project Overview

Purpose: to explore in depth a topic of your choosing, relating to teaching and learning in physics. The projects should be challenging, fun, and allow you to explore an area of your interest.

Topic: We encourage you to be creative. There is no set form to these final projects There are no set topics. Examples of reasonable final projects are: a traditional research paper, the design and write-up of some activities for your students at fieldsite, or a research study where you collect data on some area of physics education that interests you.
Some basic guidelines are below. However, as necessary, these too are flexible. Just be certain to check with us about your project.

Length: 10 pages (single to 1.5x spaced). Graduate Students are expected to be 20 pages.  Your work must be typed. This may be the only inflexible rule. Don’t forget a spell checker please.

Due date: No later than Noon, December 15.  On D2L.

Structure: Your projects will vary, but below we give some general guides for a research study, where you might collect data from the field:


  • states the problem or area of exploration
  • list your research questions and hypothesis **
  • gives a summary of your paper


  • locates your topic in relevant literature
  • gives a history of your field-site / working environment

Body: Data:

  • how were your data collected
  • what difficulties were there in your data collection (why / when was is possible to collect data and why/when not) - were you able to prove your hypothesis?
  • presentation of collected data -- e.g. fieldnote excerpts, taped conversation pre-post test data, etc. Make sure this is an orderly presentation.
  • For bulk data, include an appendix, rather than inserting volumes of data into the body. (e.g. if you developed sample homework problems it is okay to put one or two into the paper, but include the 50 or so used in an appendix)


  • what results do your data suggest
  • how does this prove/ disprove your hypothesis
  • how does this support or refute alternative theories

Conclusion/ Summary:

  • summarize your paper / work
  • what future directions does this research point to --- if you were to continue the project what would you do next / recommend to others

As we note above, there are many ways to approach the final project. If you have any
questions feel free to contact us, We're always eager to discuss your projects.

More information is on the project outline page and the project presentation page

A tentative schedule of of project:

  • Week 1: 8/25: Introduction
  • Week 4: 9/15 Identify area of interest for project - Turn in 1 paragraph description D2L
  • Week 7: 10/6 Outline of project due D2L
  • Week 13: 11/17 Rough cut of final project due D2L
  • Last week / Finals week: project due. D2L

These are to be turned in on D2L:
If doing a research-paper you must run it through the plagiarism checker (and run a report).