Join a Team


Graduate students on the GSIRI teams must represent more than one department, program, or discipline in order for the team to qualify for funding. It’s not always easy for graduate students to meet across disciplines, so the GSIRI website offers you the opportunity to share your ideas with others. Once your idea is posted other students with similar interests can connect with you to explore the possibility of working on your research team. You can also review ideas from other GSIRI posts to seek out others.

Do you want to join a team? Please see the list of project ideas below and click on them to learn more. If you are interested in joining a research team, contact the team leaders.

Project Title: Racial Discrimination in Online English Language Teaching: Measuring The Effect of Native Speakerism and Raciolinguistics in The Gig Economy


Primary Research Aim: The project will measure the effect of racial category on parent ratings of Black, non-Black minority, and White English as a foreign language teachers on the platform VIPKid, the largest online English as a foreign language teaching platform in China. Other teacher profile data (e.g. years of experience and nationality) will be collected to include as independent variables in the analysis.

Abstract: The study will construct a dataset based on information gleaned from publicly available teaching profiles on the VIPKid platform to compare overall parent ratings for n black teachers’ profiles, n non-black minority (Asian, Hispanic, Middle Eastern, American Indian, Pacific Islander) teachers’ profiles, and n White teachers’ profiles. The platform hosts tens of thousands of active teachers, so to determine a representative sample size for the platform, and to make doing so a manageable task, we plan to pick one of the English levels (1-8), document all teaching profiles in the search for that level, then perform a power analysis to determine how many teaching profiles should be included in the actual sample from the English level we chose. Once the dataset is constructed, statistical tests will be used to measure the effect of race (and other independent variables) on parents’ rating of VIPKid teachers based on teachers’ overall profile rating (max 5.00). Measurement of race’s effect on overall parental ratings of teachers will need to be sensitive to detect small differences in overall ratings because, from our initial observations, teachers’ overall ratings seem to cluster around 5.00.

Contact the Research Team: Andrew Seibert (, Dr. Peter Sayer (Faculty Mentor)

Our Team is Looking For:

Statistics Expertise for Teaching & Learning Racial Discrimination Project

Expertise in Statistics, SPSS, power analysis, regression and/or ANOVA preferred.

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Project Title: Implementing and Sustaining Social Media Learning Communities in STEM Teacher Education


Primary Research Aim: Research on teacher education shows that pre-service teachers, especially those in STEM, feel alienated even when they become in-service, and this has been intensified by COVID-19. In this study, we will better understand how creating sustainable social media learning communities (SMLC) to actively discuss STEM related teaching and learning issues can address the feelings of alienation among teachers. I conjecture these SLMCs will also change perceptions towards greater inclusion in Teacher Ed.

Abstract: Pre-service teachers report feeling alienated while completing their university courses and even when they become in-service (Tannehill & MacPhail, 2017). Researchers (e.g. Satar & Akcan, 2018; Luo, Sickel & Cheng, 2016) are exploring learning communities embedded within university courses to address their alienation and professional practice. A rarely used option is Social Media Learning Communities (SMLC) which can be crucial platforms especially for STEM teachers who struggle as they are expected to integrate different disciplines in the classroom (Aydogan et al., 2021; Scardamalia & Bereiter, 2003). SMLCs are rarely used due to high levels of digital distraction among teachers such as checking tweets or emails when there are other important things to be done (Awofala et al., 2020) and the difficulties experienced with sustaining these SMLC over time (Satar & Akcan, 2018). Yet, the benefits to SMLC include ‘on-time’ mentorship opportunities and easy access to colleagues across the globe (Tannehill & MacPhail, 2017; Satar & Akcan, 2018; Luo, Sickel & Cheng, 2016). This mixed methods study will determine the benefits of an anonymous moderated reddit STEM LC embedded within the course: EDUTL5744 Technologies in STEM which emphasizes Computer Supported Collaborative Learning. Can we address feelings of alienation, digital distraction and sustainability using these SMLC embedded in EDUTL5744? SMLC data, reflections and student interviews for each cohort will be analyzed.

Contact the Research Team: M-Anthony Evans (, Dr. Ashlyn Pierson (Faculty Mentor)

Our Team is Looking For:

Data Collection

Researchers interested in social media, learning communities, STEM or teaching and learning who can help with finalizing data collection surveys and interview schedules and help conducting interviews.

Data Statistician

Analysis of pre-, post- quantitative scales (Technology Acceptance Model and Social Media LC scale which is currently being developed) OR qualitative coding of interviews and linguistic inquiry and word count (LIWC) analysis of course reflections and reddit community posts OR social networking analysis of the interactions within the community.

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Project Title: Are Schools Making The Grade?: A Critical Social Justice Thematic Analysis of School Disciplinary Policies and Procedures


Primary Research Aim: The aim of the current research proposal is to examine Columbus-area school district discipline handbooks and conduct a thematic analysis. The researchers are interested in examining: 1) whether school policies unfairly target certain student groups, 2) The long-term consequences associated with policies and procedures (e.g., zero-tolerance, repeated school removal), 3) Whether similar policies and procedures are applied equitably and consistently to vastly different student demographics.

Abstract: Prior research (e.g, Anderson et al., 2019) discusses the discipline gap, a trend in which Black students tend to receive harsher and more exclusionary discipline for committing similar infractions as white students. The discipline gap is associated with negative academic outcomes, such as grade retention and school drop-out, and increased involvement in the criminal legal system (Morris and Perry, 2016). Black children are more than two and a half times more likely to be disciplined than white students (Young et al., 2018). Given the negative implications of disproportionate discipline for Black children, the authors argue it is a Social Justice issue. Unfortunately, many educational professionals are ill-equipped to address real-world Social Justice issues. For instance, Graves et al. (2021) concluded that the field of school psychology has a Social Justice practice-to-research gap where researchers talk about Social Justice theoretically but fail to address how findings can be applied to real-world issues in schools. As such, more Social Justice research needs to be conducted to close the practice-to-research gap. A thematic analysis will be used to analyze several Columbus-area school districts to examine disproportionality in disciplinary procedures. Further, the researchers will attempt to close the practice-to-research gap by giving practitioners actionable steps to address disproportionality. As such, this research could assist local schools in striving toward equity.

Contact the Research Team: Mark Jones (, Shanye Phillips, Kyanna Johnson, Marcel Jacobs, Dr. Scott Graves Jr. (Faculty Mentor)

Our Team is Looking For:

Qualitative Researcher

Qualitative Research methodology (e.g., conducting Thematic Analyses)

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Project Title: Finding Your Place: Exploring the Importance of Identity-based Centers in Higher Education


Primary Research Aim: This project aims to explore the needs of marginalized students on college campuses and how higher education professionals meet those needs. Among calls for dedicated culture centers at institutions for higher learning, this study will gather opinions from students on the ways their needs are and are not being served, and will examine the pros and cons of combined multicultural centers and dedicated culture centers from the student perspective.

Abstract: There is a debate among some scholars as to the most effective way to serve students belonging to marginalized identity groups (Renn, 2013; Patton, 2013). Some higher education institutions serve these students through an all-encompassing multicultural center and some have dedicated cultural centers meant for specific groups of students, such as LGBTQ+ Pride Centers and Black Cultural Centers. Both types of centers work towards a mission of supporting marginalized groups, each bringing to the table its own advantages and disadvantages. This study will produce a climate survey of student opinions on the difference in these types of centers and which type best serves student needs. While similar studies have recently been conducted at OSU on LGBTQ+ Students (Meyers et al. 2020; Davis et al., 2014), we will survey a broader population of students spanning various social identity groups for a more holistic view of the ways these resource needs are met on our campus. This climate survey will give us a view of the extent to which Ohio State serves the needs of these students, and gives us a background for moving this study forward for other institutions of higher education to get a broader idea of which type of identity-based centers might best serve the needs of marginalized students.

Contact the Research Team: Jayden Messer (

Our Team is Looking For:

IRB Writer

Someone with experience in filing an IRB for working with human subjects who can help with the processing of that paperwork.

Quantitative Researchers

Researchers with an interest in serving the needs of marginalized students and who can help with survey creation, data collection, and data analysis.

Qualitative Researchers

Researchers with an interest in serving the needs of marginalized students and who can help analyze open-ended survey responses.

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Project Title: Characterizing the Nutritional Needs and Concerns of Transgender and Gender Non-Binary Youth in Ohio: A Community-Engaged Mixed Methods Research Study


Primary Research Aim: Characterize and identify the nutrition needs and concerns of transgender and gender non-binary (TGNB) youth based on validated survey response, biometrics, and in-depth interviews. Survey modules include demographic/health history, estimated dietary intake, meal consumption patterns, disordered eating patterns, and food security. Biometric data include anthropometric (height, weight, waist circumference), blood pressure, skin carotenoids, and blood biomarkers (HbA1C, lipids, and hemoglobin).

Abstract: There are no evidence-based nutrition guidelines for the TGNB population despite the growing population and evidence that TGNB individuals, particularly youth, disproportionately experience food insecurity and eating disorders. If not addressed, health disparities will persist. For this cross-sectional study, the research team, an interdisciplinary partnership between OSU and Kaleidoscope Youth Center will employ a convergent parallel mixed methods design through an equitable community-engaged research approach. Community members and stakeholders will be equitable partners throughout the study, comprising the Community Advisory Board (CAB). A convenience sample (n=35+ based on practical considerations germane to the target population) will be recruited through the community partner sites. Eligible participants will be 13-17 y/o, reside in Columbus, OH, and identify as TGNB. Quantitative and qualitative data will be collected concurrently, analyzed separately, and then integrated through triangulation. Descriptive statistics and comparative analyses will be analyzed in Stata 16.1. Dietary intake will be analyzed in the NDSR. Interview transcripts will be transcribed verbatim and analyzed for themes in NVivo. Data saturation will be calculated as documented by Guest et al. (2020). Results from this hypothesis-generating study will inform future research in this line of inquiry, and ultimately contribute to the development of evidence-based nutrition guidelines for TGNB youth.

Contact the Research Team: Heather Schier (, Krithika Chetty, Dr. Carolyn Gunther (Faculty Mentor)

Our Team is Looking For:

Public Health/Social Work

Expertise in working with minoritized groups, particularly gender minority youth/adolescents; strong background in community engaged research methods.


Expertise working with gender minority youth/adolescents; background in the psychosocial factors that relate to food and dietary behaviors.


Expertise in conducting finger prick blood draws with adolescents.

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Project Title: The Use of Drama-Based Learning in Teaching Socio-Scientific Issues: The Case of Solar Energy


Primary Research Aim: One of the main concerns for science educators is finding teaching strategies and methodologies that can improve students’ learning and experience. We will implement socio-scientific issues (SSIs) through drama-based learning to see the effect on students’ understanding of solar energy topics and their self-efficacy changes in physics learning.

Abstract: In recent years, socio-scientific issues (SSIs) like global warming, climate change, water quality, and nuclear energy have been researched. Previous studies involving intervention prove that SSIs have been used to develop students’ content knowledge, scientific literacy, and argumentation skills. Nevertheless, SSIs have a complex structure and scientific, logical, and ethical aspects; we cannot expect traditional teaching practices on SSI topics. Drama-based learning methods proved that students could be more inspired, improving students’ understanding of scientific concepts and sharpening their aesthetic experience in science. Using drama in science classrooms may increase students’ inclusive growth: developmentally, academically, and socially (Moore,2004). The drama also has a significant role in developing students’ social skills. Moreover, drama in science learning promotes learners’ engagement in science activities and helps them grasp challenging ideas (McGregor, 2012). Therefore, this study employs SSIs through drama-based learning to see the effect on students’ understanding of solar energy topics and their self-efficacy changes in physics learning. We expect it to broaden the teacher’s perspective on utilizing SSIs drama-based learning in their physics classroom.

Contact the Research Team: Mutiara Syifa (, Fuyi Feng, Dr. Lin Ding (Faculty Mentor)