The AJP Physics Education Research Supplement:
Mission Statement

The purpose of the PER Supplement is to provide a forum for the presentation of research results on the scientific investigation of the learning and teaching of physics. The main focus of the work should be on upper-secondary and post-secondary physics education.

A primary goal of the PER Supplement is the documentation of what is known about physics teaching and learning for the physics instructor interested in providing his or her students with a more successful learning experience. A second goal is to increase the exchange of information and views among researchers in physics education. Complete and detailed studies are expected to provide the core of the PER Supplement, but we also encourage other contributions, such as careful identification of student difficulties, well documented small scale research (action research) in one's own classroom, and extended review articles.

In addition to traditional research articles, the PER Supplement encourages submission of other types of articles that could be of value to either the community of physics education researchers or the community of physics instructors. These might include:

Each paper submitted will usually be reviewed by at least two referees. A panel of reviewers will be sought who agree to give substantial constructive support and suggestions to papers that they review.

Topics from neighboring disciplines are entirely appropriate when they relate to student understanding of physics. For example, articles from chemistry education researchers on student difficulties with the atomic model or geology articles about student understanding of heat flow in the earth would be welcome.

Experimental papers should focus on the student as a learner, not on the physics alone nor on what material has been covered without reference to the student's responses. However, papers on the impact of the role of the instructor, instructor's methods, and instructor's attitudes on student learning are welcome and encouraged.

The PER Supplement is committed to the development of appropriate epistemological foundations for physics education research. To that end, it will encourage work and discussion from a range of epistemological and methodological orientations. However, the journal is also committed to the development of physics education research that is firmly grounded both 1) in observations of the phenomena of learning and instruction and 2) in the practices of the discipline of physics, including a strong understanding of both the physics concerned and the methods of the discipline. Empirical research should be well documented, with methods and relevant circumstances explained, and with data presented clearly and thoroughly. Theoretical papers should include discussions of the experimental evidence for the points of view discussed and possible experiments that could help verify or contradict the proposed viewpoints.

Articles that are not appropriate for the Supplement include: