Some recommended reading for anyone interested in learning more about “Physics Education Research” (PER) and “Discipline-Based Education Research” (DBER).
“Discipline-Based Education Research” is the scientific study of the teaching and learning of specific academic disciplines, conducted by scholars situated within that discipline (as opposed to, say, schools of education or cognitive psychology departments).
“Physics Education Research” is DBER specifically in the discipline of physics. Perhaps for historical reasons, it is the oldest and most widespread of the DBER disciplines.
Getting Started in PER is a collection of online articles introducing PER and some of the skills useful to conducting it. (The list is reverse-chronologic, so scroll down to the bottom for the most general introductory article. I particularly recommend beginning with [An Introduction to Physics Education Research[(http://www.compadre.org/per/items/detail.cfm?ID=8806).
a “resource letter” on PER, a summary and collection of references to other articles, published in 1999 in the American Journal of Physics.
Essential Readings in PER, a large collection in CiteULike selected by a working group of PER researchers at the 2011 Foundations and Frontiers of Physics Education Research conference. (Disclosure: I was a member of that working group.)
A Theoretical Framework for PER: Modeling Student Thinking, a seminal article by Joe Redish on the “knowledge in pieces” perspective on physics learning