Development of basic and dynamic inquiry skills, and knowledge types, during open-inquiry learning in comparison to guided-inquiry learning

Bar-Ilan University, Israel

Supervisors: Dr. Michal Zion & Professor Shlomo Havlin

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There is a broad agreement among educators regarding the importance of the instruction of inquiry and the instruction through inquiry, but there are differences of opinion regarding the manner of inquiry instruction in the classroom: "guided inquiry" or "open inquiry", where the differences between the two are related to the amount of independence of the student and in the amount of intervention of the teacher during the performance of inquiry.

This research examines the contribution of instruction in the guided inquiry approach in contrast to instruction by the open inquiry approach to students that performed an inquiry project during their biology studies in Israeli high schools. The central goal of this research deals with the comparison between the instructional methods and their influence on the development of basic inquiry skills and dynamic inquiry skills, knowledge types, and attitudes among biology students (questions 1-5). In addition, the dynamic inquiry process that was evident in the inquiry projects of students, in the "open inquiry" group (question 6) was characterized in depth.

This research combined quantitative and qualitative aspects and establishes two new aspects related to inquiry: First, regarding the inquiry method, which inquiry type leads to the best learning results? A second aspect is concerned with the dynamic inquiry characteristic.

Similar progress is apparent in the management of basic inquiry skills for both research groups, up to the completion of the inquiry project in the middle of the 12th grade was found. However, the achievements were higher in the matriculation tests for the open inquiry students.

The expressed level of the dynamic inquiry skills was higher for the open inquiry students as compared with the guided inquiry students. The knowledge of the open inquiry students was higher from the beginning of the project and remained as such until the end of the project.

The students in both research groups expressed positive attitudes toward the inquiry project that they performed but the open inquiry students were satisfied and felt that they gained from the performance of the project to a greater extent than the guided inquiry students.

No difference was found in the attitudes of the students from both research groups. The attitudes improved with time.

The dynamic inquiry performances were expressed in the open inquiry projects in two criteria: "changes occurring during the research (inquiry dynamics)" and "procedural understanding". A connection was found between the numbers of students in the group to the number of performances, in both fields. The more participants in the inquiry project, the greater number of performances.

List of publications from this thesis

  1. Sadeh, I. (2007). Development of dynamic inquiry skills during open-inquiry learning in comparison to guided-inquiry learning. ESERA 8.2007.
  2. Sadeh, I., Zion, M., & Spector-Levi, O. (2005). Invasive species – enemy? Lover? A Challenge of Open Inquiry Learning and Conservation Education. Journal of Biology teacher, 172; 20 – 31. (Hebrew)
  3. Zion, M., & Sadeh, I. (2007). Curiosity and open inquiry learning. Journal of Biological Education, 41(4); 162 – 168.


Department of Science Education

Bar Ilan University

Ramat Gan 52900, Israel

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