Dr. Sampson's research examines how students participate in argumentation in the context of science, engineering, and mathematics and ways to make the interactions that take place between students, materials, and ideas more productive in terms of learning. His current work focuses on the ways students support, evaluate, and revise ideas when attempting to develop explanations or solutions to problems, group and individual meaning making during episodes of argumentation, the development of innovative instructional materials and strategies, and how to support teachers in making classroom instruction more equitable and inclusive. He has published numerous articles, book chapters and books related to these issues. He has received several awards for his scholarship, including the 2008 National Association for Research in Science Teaching Outstanding Dissertation award and the 2012 National Association for Research in Science Teaching Early Career award.
Dr. Sampson teaches both undergraduate and graduate level science education courses that focus on how people learn, instructional design, and assessment. His teaching philosophy is rooted in theories of learning that stress the importance of experience, interaction with others, the evaluation of alternative ideas, and metacognition. As a result, his courses tend to engage students in cycles of inquiry, reading, discussion, and a project that requires the application of new ideas and principles to authentic problems.