Study of Informal Science Resource Use among Young Adults and Their Families

Principal Investigator: 
Project Overview
Background & Purpose: 

Building on the 20-year longitudinal record of the Longitudinal Study of American Youth (LSAY), the study will collect information from a national sample of young adults (aged 34-38) about their use of informal science learning resources and the technologies that they utilize. In the 2010 cycle of the LSAY, information will be collected about the ways that LSAY participants use science learning resources with their own children (66% of LSAY participants now have minor children at home). Using the full longitudinal record, a set of models will be produced to predict informal science learning resource use.


The LSAY is based on a national probability sample of public school students in 1987. LSAY students now live in all 50 states and some foreign countries.

Research Design: 

This is a longitudinal study designed to generate descriptive and causal [statistical modeling] evidence. Original data are collected through assessments of learning or achievement tests; school records or policy documents; and survey research [self-completed questionnaires, structured interviewer-administered questionnaires]. In addition, this project will analyze all of the location information for students and schools. These data have been geo-coded and linked to various data bases. Therefore the full analysis involves a combination of descriptive data analysis and the construction of structural equation models, using LISREL. Confirmatory factor analyses are used to construct scales. Some GIS software and tools are used for spatial analysis.


Findings will be posted as they become available.