About the Institute

(If you want to get in touch with us, see the Contact Us page.)

The Scientific Reasoning Research Institute (SRRI), a division of the UMass College of Natural Sciences, is an interdisciplinary group who:

  1. conduct research on reasoning and cognitive processes involved in the learning of science, mathematics, engineering, and statistics and
  2. apply these findings to improve instruction and learning in these domains.

Institute members have come from a variety of backgrounds including biology, physics, mathematics, education, and psychology. SRRI projects and associates serve the campus community by providing financial support for graduate and undergraduate students, directing theses and independent study projects, promoting interactions with local school teachers, fostering instructional innovation, and promoting collaborations with other researchers and organizations.

You can find research articles by SRRI members in Publications and software and curriculum materials in Products.

Graduate Study

Opportunities for graduate work with SRRI

The Institute itself does not offer degrees. Rather, our students enroll in a graduate degree program with another UMass department, and then choose one of our members or affiliated faculty as their research advisor. Most of the students we have sponsored have come from Psychology, Physics, and the School of Education. Students must satisfy all degree requirements for their home department, including course work and qualifying exams.

If you are interested in graduate work with SRRI, you will need to apply to a degree-granting UMass department. If you wish, you may contact us to discuss the choice of departments.

Institute History

SRRI was founded in 1987 through the efforts of its first director, Jack Lochhead. Initially, the Institute was conceived as the synthesis of three components:

  1. science education research projects, which at that time had established a ten-year funding history;
  2. the General Education Basic Math Program, originating through a grant from the Exxon Foundation but having acquired State funding, and
  3. the Cognitive Processes Research Group, an informal association of faculty researchers from several University schools and colleges.

Unfortunately, the Basic Math Program, existing as it did outside traditional University structures, was an early casualty of the severe budget cuts of the 1990s. Since then, the Institute has relied entirely on external grant funding, primarily from the National Science Foundation.