Lin Zhang

Associate Professor

Contact Information:


Harkins Hall 324


Ph.D. - Boston College

Brief Biography:

Lin Zhang is an associate professor of science education at Providence College with an emphasis in Learning Sciences. Her research draws from cognitive psychology, focuses on examining instructional 'guidance' during students' science-related activities, defines elements of 'guidance' carefully beyond traditional views, and offers suggestions for effectively integrating investigation activities into science instruction with consideration of different natures and complexities of these activities.

Lin is also leading debates on science educational policy with regard to science/STEM instruction.

I am an Editorial Board Member for
Canadian Journal of Science, Mathematics and Technology Education 2022 – present
Journal of Research in Science Teaching 2019 – 2022

Please visit following sites for my up-to-date publications

Selected Publications:

Zhang, L. (2022) Guidance differs between teaching modes: practical challenges in integrating hands-on investigations with direct instruction. Learning: Research and Practice . .(online first), 1-21.

Zhang, L. Kirschner, P. Cobern, W. Sweller, J. (2022) There is an evidence crisis in science educational policy. Educational Psychology Review. .(34), 1157-1176.

Zhang, L. Van Reet, J. (2021) How is “Knowledge” Constructed During Science Activities? Detaching Instructional Effects of “Playing” and “Telling” to Optimize Integration of Scientific Investigations. Research in Science Education. .(online first), 1-15.

Zhang, L. Cobern, W. (2020) Confusions on “Guidance” in Inquiry-Based Science Teaching: A Response to Aditomo and Klieme (2020). Canadian Journal of Science, Mathematics and Technology Education. .(21), 207–212.

Zhang, L. Li, Z. (2019) How does inquiry-based scientific investigation relate to the development of students’ science knowledge, knowing, applying, and reasoning? An examination of TIMSS data. Canadian Journal of Science, Mathematics and Technology Education. .(19), 334-345.

Zhang, L. (2019) “Hands-on” plus “inquiry”? Effects of withholding answers coupled with physical manipulations on students' learning of energy-related science concepts. Learning and Instruction. .(60), 199-205.

Zhang, L. (2018) Withholding answers during hands-on scientific investigations? Comparing effects on developing students’ scientific knowledge, reasoning, and application. International Journal of Science Education. .(40), 459-469.

Patchen, A. Zhang, L. Barnett, M. (2017) Growing plants and scientists: Fostering positive attitudes toward science among all participants in an afterschool hydroponics program. Journal of Science Education and Technology. .(26), 279-294.

Zhang, L. (2016) Is inquiry-based science teaching worth the effort? Some thoughts worth considering. Science & Education. .(25), 897-915.

Zhang, L. Barnett, M. (2015) How high school students envision their STEM career pathways. Cultural Studies of Science Education. .(10), 637-656.

Zhang, L. (2014) A meta-analysis method to advance design of technology-based learning tool: Combining qualitative and quantitative research to understand learning in relation to different technology features. Journal of Science Education and Technology. .(23), 145-159.

Mark, . DeBay, D. Zhang, L. Haley, J. Patchen, A. Wong, C. Barnett, M. (2013) Coupling Social Justice and Out-of-School time learning to provide opportunities to Motivate, Engage and Interest under-represented Populations in STEM fields. Career Planning and Adult Development Journal. .(29), 93-105.

Ebenezer, J. Columbus, R. Nafiz Kaya, O. Zhang, L. Ebenezer, D. (2012) One science teacher’s professional development experience: A case study exploring changes in students’ perceptions of their fluency with innovative technologies. Journal of Science Education and Technology. .(21), 22-37.

Selected Presentations:

Zhang, L. Van Reet, J. American Educational Research Association. , - "What Constructs “Knowledge”? Detaching Instructional Effects of “Playing” and “Telling” on Learning of Science Concepts" April, 2019

Personal website