Content Review of Academic Dissertations on Science Education of Highly Gifted Students in Turkey*
|Emre KÖMEK1, Tuncay ÖZSEVGEÇ2, Murat KURT3
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In the recent years, an increase is observed in the number of publications on education of highly gifted students in Turkey. There are even new journals that have been introduced in this field. Turkish Superior Intelligence and Education Journal (TUZED), Journal for Studies on Education of Highly Gifted (UYAD), Young Scientist Education and Superior Intelligence Journal (JEYSH) are some of the examples. If we review the literature in our country related with the education of highly gifted students, most of the studies focus on how to identify a highly gifted person and how they should be educated, and it is possible to say that branch education is addressed relatively less. The importance of the science literacy, science education encompassing the subjects on the nature of science cannot be underestimated. Academic dissertations are important resources in the literature as they are based on long-term and indepth studies on the science education of the highly gifted students. The objective of this study carried out with the same purpose aims at reviewing the content of academic dissertations on science education of highly gifted students on our country and revealing the general trend in this field. The present study analyses the content of the postgraduate and doctoral dissertations written in 2001-2013 period on science education of the highly gifted students. The thesis database of the Council of Higher Education (YOK) was reviewed, "highly gifted", "superior intelligence" concepts were written in the database, the thesis results related with the science education (elementary level science education, secondary school physics, chemistry and biology) were included in the study and 25 postgraduate and 4 doctoral dissertations were found. For this purpose 29 dissertations published in the YOK database as full text and abstract were reviewed. The dissertations were written in 2001-2013 and the number is high particularly in 2010. The classification form developed by was used for the review of the dissertations. The findings of the present study show that 25 of them are postgraduate dissertations and 4 of them are doctoral dissertations. In consideration of the methods used in these dissertations, 14 of them were prepared using quantitative method, 9 with combined method and 6 of them were prepared with qualitative method. The distribution of the subject of the dissertations is within a wide range, and the subjects that have been studied the most are the attitudes of students about science and the environment. Other subjects are training of teachers, differentiated physics education, scientific creativity, creative thinking, image of the scientists, different literacies (science and environment) and teachers` opinions. Majority of the samples groups in the studies consist of highly gifted students of 4-8th grades attending to Science and Art Centre (institutions associated by the Ministry of National Education that can be attended by the students for the education of the highly gifted students in our country for additional courses other than those taught at schools) and the remaining part of the sample groups consist of science teachers (Physics, Chemistry and Biology) working in the Science and Art Centres and administrators of the Science and Art Centres. Most of the sample groups consist of 20-80 persons, and others consist of 100-300 persons. The review revealed that majority of the dissertations on science education of the highly gifted students are postgraduate dissertations, the number of doctoral dissertations are lesser in number as the study area isrelatively new in our country, mostly quantitative methods were used in these dissertations and majority of the sample group consists of highly gifted students attending to Science and Art Centre. This study will assist researchers intending to carry out researches on science education of the highly gifted students in determining which fields are required to be addressed in the studies. In addition, it will reveal the general trend of the dissertations prepared in our country on science education of the highly gifted students. Some recommendations are made in the final part of the study for researchers who want to study in this field.