Dr. Sampson's research examines how students engage in argumentation in the context of science and ways to make the interactions that place between students, materials, and ideas during an episode of argumentation more productive in terms of learning. His current work focuses on the ways students support, evaluate, and revise ideas through discussion and writing in the context of science, group and individual meaning making during episodes of argumentation, the development of innovative instructional materials and strategies that emphasize argumentation as part of the teaching and learning of science, and how teachers' knowledge and beliefs about science, learning, and science teaching affect how they attempt to promote and support argumentation inside the classroom. 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.