My current areas of research is dynamic across areas and disciplines within secondary education. My primary research interest is in the study of STEM Literacy, and the difficulties middle and high school teacher’s encounter when teaching students in grades 7-12 who are struggling readers. In my current role as the principal investigator of The Gulf Coast Academy for Science Literacy, I work with middle and high school teachers to teach and mentor them through the process of seamlessly embedding research-supported literacy instructional strategies into highly motivating inquiry-based STEM modules. The teachers learn to engage their students in mastering critical concepts associated with science, technology, engineering, and mathematics as they build an underwater remotely controlled vehicle (ROV), SeaPerch. As students build the ROV, they converse using technical terminology and they negotiate comp! lex texts using literacy strategies, all of which are taught within the module. Thus far, the research suggests that middle and high school students who struggle to read show a greater interest in learning the critical concepts associated with fields of STEM when given the opportunity to engage in hands-on construction of the ROV with proper literacy support. As the difficulties for struggling readers diminish, middle and high school teachers report a sense of success and a more positive attitude towards including literacy instruction within their courses dramatically increases. While initial analysis of the data collected from teachers and their students are positive, additional data are needed to determine if overall student academic success has improved.
My strong background in the field of biology and chemistry provides the framework for my research in the area of developing low-cost student constructed equipment that can be used to teach middle and high school students relevant and critical concepts to improve their quality of life and overall science educational experience. I, along with other colleagues have designed a low-cost student constructed electrophoresis chamber and have found protein molecules that mimic red blood cells of persons with sickle cell anemia, sickle cell trait, or normal red blood cells. Similar to my primary research interest, this research focuses on teacher training on how to create theme-based instructional units using low-cost student constructed devices and the sickle cell story. Initial research for this interest focused on teacher receptiveness to using the theme-based instructional approach and the results overwhelming suggests that teachers welcome the opportunity to use this method of! instruction. From the initial data collected, a former suspicion was confirmed. Often times the information about sickle cell anemia is typically obsolete or oversimplified in biology classrooms. At this current time, the research for this interest is currently being redesigned to include the study of using a thematic STEM module approach.
Additionally, my strong foundation in science and my passion to improve the opportunities for the children in Mississippi and across our country, puts research is at the heart of what I do each day. I am currently involved in several research projects with colleagues as well as undergraduate and graduate students. Below is a short list of my additional research interest:
• The effects of classroom climate on teacher retention
• Nurses: Improving patient compliance through the use of developmentally appropriate literacy strategies
• Examining the text formats (narrative, expository, hybrid) of nonfiction books written for children that have won the Orbis Pictus, Sibert, and Golden Kite Awards from 2005-2010
• The Voices of Alternative Route Teachers – What we needed to prepare us to teach teach
Styron, J., Davis, B. L., Styron, R. A., (2011). Research in the Schools: The MSERA Journal. In Matthews, W. M. (Ed.), The Heritage Volume of the Mid-South Educational Research Association. (p4, 140-141). Oxford, MS: The University of Mississippi. (Editorial)
Davis, B. L. (2010). Preservice teachers' attitudes, familiarity, use, and perceived applicability of content area reading strategies. The University of Southern Mississippi). ProQuest Dissertations and Theses, , 177. Retrieved from http://lynx.lib.usm.edu/docview/734812017?accountid=13946. (734812017).
Herron, S., Davis, B. L., & Nelson, P. (2010). Theme-based Instruction: Making Conceptual Ties with the Sickle Cell Story. The American Biology Teacher, 72(7), 422-426.
Davis, B. L. & Warren, D. (2005, November). “Using Children’s Literature to Increase Science Achievement.” Kappa Delta Phi Convocation, Orlando, Florida. (Peer Reviewed)
Davis, B. L. (2012, May). “Make it Connect! Link Stem and Real-World Application with
Electrophoresis Chambers.” National Science Teachers Association, STEM Forum, Atlantic City, N.J. (Peer Reviewed)
Davis, B. L., Nelson, P. & Herron, S. (2009, March). “Making it Happen with Electrophoresis.”
National Science Teachers Association, New Orleans, Louisiana (Peer Reviewed)
Styron, R. & Davis, B. (2011). “Developing Tomorrow’s Scientists through the use of
Embedded Literacy Strategies.” Mid-South Educational Research Association, Oxford,
MS. (Peer Reviewed)
Davis, B. L. (2007, November). “Comparing Content Area Reading Strategy Awareness between Elementary and Secondary Pre-service Teachers.” Mid-South Educational Research Association, Hot Springs, Arkansas. (Peer Reviewed)
Davis, B. L. (2010, March). “Teaching Literacy in the Content Area”. Delta State
University, Cleveland, Mississippi.
Davis, B. L. (2010, February). “Content Area Literacy in Mississippi.” Mississippi Department of Education, Secondary Educational Literacy Council, Jackson, Mississippi.
Davis, B. L. (2007, April). “Content Area Reading: Strategies Awareness Comparison between
Elementary and Secondary Pre-service Teachers.” The University of Southern Mississippi Graduate Student Colloquium, Hattiesburg, Mississippi.