ERIC Number: ED456157
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2001-Apr
Reference Count: N/A
Relationships between Effective Inquiry Use and the Development of Scientific Reasoning Skills in College Biology Labs.
Benford, Russell; Lawson, Anton E.
Two hypotheses regarding the relationship between scientific reasoning skills and the use of the inquiry method of instruction in college biology labs were examined. The first hypothesis was that scientific reasoning skills influence an instructor's ability to teach biology using inquiry. The second hypothesis was that the effectiveness with which an instructor uses inquiry affects the pedagogical outcome of a lesson. To test the first hypothesis, 9 instructors teaching 702 students in an introductory biology course for nonmajors were evaluated for their scientific reasoning skills and understanding of the nature of science. Data were also collected on instructors' prior exposure to inquiry, educational level, teaching experience, subject knowledge, and verbal, quantitative, and analytical reasoning skills. An instrument was used to quantify the effectiveness with which instructors use inquiry as an instructional technique. As expected, performance on tests of scientific reasoning and analytical reasoning skills were predictors of effective inquiry use. To test the second hypothesis on the relationship between the effective use of inquiry and pedagogical outcome, data on students' scientific reasoning skills, understanding of the nature of science, subject knowledge, and overall satisfaction with the instructor were gathered. As expected, students of instructors who used inquiry more effectively experienced greater normalized gains in scientific reasoning than students of instructors who used inquiry less effectively. A negative correlation between instructor inquiry use and student understanding of the nature of science was identified. No other student variables were significantly influenced by effectiveness of inquiry use. Seven appendixes contain student surveys and sample assessment items. (Contains 7 figures, 2 tables, and 51 references.) (Author/SLD)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Tests/Questionnaires
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Science Foundation, Arlington, VA.
Authoring Institution: N/A