Conceptualizing Scientific Inquiry
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In order to develop a strategy for the assessment of scientific inquiry in a laboratory setting, a theoretical construct of the components of scientific inquiry needs to be developed. A basic principle of any assessment procedure is that the starting point of any project is the specification of the object that is to be assessed. In the case of active assessment the object to be assessed is scientific inquiry. Unfortunately, as discussed by Hofstein and Lunetta (2003) in their meta-analysis of 20 years of research concerning the use of the laboratory as a site for education, the term scientific inquiry has been described and defined in a variety of ways leading to the need for “greater precision and consistency” in the explanation of this term. The aim of the current chapter is to provide an understanding of some of the complexities within the educational context in defining scientific inquiry. The main problem that this chapter addresses is the definition of scientific...