Authentic High School Research Experiences: A Meta-synthesis
Research is often associated with both positive outcomes and arduous experiences for high school learners. This meta-synthesis aimed to synthesize findings that examined the day to day interactions and practices among research-engaged high school classrooms and how high school learners engaged themselves in the writing of a research paper. The synthesis generated 6 distinct themes with opposing concepts: (1) mapping out the journey vs. navigating independently; (2) privileging product over process; (3) driving on training wheels vs. steering independently; (4) teaching the life beyond while neglecting the primary and secondary skills; (5) climbing the brick wall vs. finding the silver lining and (6) living the new prescription vs. misconstruing research digitization. The synthesis translated into two higher-order concepts: (1) disorientation on inherent challenges and non-preparation for system reworking and (2) balancing preparations and expectations. These concepts consider the experience among high school learners as a foundation for improved instructional practices among teachers and research institutions.