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ERIC Number: EJ1126250
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017-Jan
Pages: 9
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0021-9584
Developing and Supporting Students' Autonomy to Plan, Perform, and Interpret Inquiry-Based Biochemistry Experiments
Silva, Thanuci; Galembeck, Eduardo
Journal of Chemical Education, v94 n1 p52-60 Jan 2017
Laboratory sessions are designed to develop the experimental skills and the acquaintance with instruments that may contribute to a successful career in Biochemistry and associated fields. This study is a report on improving a traditional Biochemistry course by devising the laboratory sessions as an inquiry-based environment to develop the students' autonomy to plan, perform, and interpret experiments. We reformulated our Biochemistry laboratory to have three activities that sequentially increase regarding autonomy. We used an autonomy support structure consisting of varying levels of engagement by the student in such aspects as Organizational, Procedural, and Cognitive, gradually transferring to students the responsibility for their decisions within the laboratory. Our results show that students performed better on the less instructed worksheet activities, characterized by a more complex autonomy support, as compared to the activities tightly controlled by worksheet directions. A review of the group lab reports suggests that students showed skills required to work with different levels of autonomy. Thus, this approach has positively supported the students' autonomy, not only mapping their progress through the activities proposed but also encouraging them to make decisions during their experiments and stimulating their ability to think and to plan experiments themselves.
Division of Chemical Education, Inc and ACS Publications Division of the American Chemical Society. 1155 Sixteenth Street NW, Washington, DC 20036. Tel: 800-227-5558; Tel: 202-872-4600; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A