Inquiry - based science teaching: An action research study

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Education (M. Ed.)


Institute for Educational Development, Karachi


The need to provide students with more inquiry-based teaching is increasing in educational settings. It is the need of our Pakistani system also, particularly research studies to initiate and implement the process in many educational settings in Pakistan. This is so that science literacy can be fostered and more attention can be given to providing conceptual understanding to the students during the teaching learning process. My study is a minor addition to the knowledge of science teaching by using inquiry as a teaching strategy. I tried to study the impact of using an inquiry-based teaching approach on students' learning. The emphasis was on the nature of questions, students ask before and after implementing inquiry and the ways they seek knowledge through using this idea in the classroom. Roth (1992) and Tobin (1991) cited by Doster, (1997) suggest that ;the epistemology underlying most traditional practice in science classrooms is objectivism, which manifests itself in the teaching of science as a body of objective facts. Teaching science from this objectivist stance contradicts the philosophical basis of the nature of science. Agreeing with the author, I would say that teaching in science classrooms should not focus the objectivism, instead it is essential to nurture the philosophical basis of the nature of science by providing various practical opportunities of learning to the students, of which inquiry-based teaching could be one. The project was designed using the qualitative paradigm of research. It was an actionoriented study in which the focus was on students' learning. One experienced teacher volunteered for the study as a co-operative teacher. The purpose of the study was to provide opportunities to the students to come up with their own ideas and test them to validate their knowledge. Actually, I wanted to provide opportunities for students to explore, manipulate and inquire into things that are in their surroundings particularly by questioning them. I assumed that by teaching this approach, students would develop their inquisitiveness and learn more effectively. For this purpose, I used many innovative ideas to encourage students to ask questions, especially open and high-order questions. Dissertation Abstracts MEd V Class of 2002 35 The findings of the study show, that inquiry-based teaching produces a positive impact on students' learning. This claim is made in the light of the data gathered in the form of students' questions. In a class of 58 students, 329 written questions were asked during one focused observation. The level of questions analyzed on the basis of Bloom's taxonomy reveal a development from recall question to analysis. No student asked synthesis and evaluation questions. For information-seeking behaviour, students used various sources to collect information for their inquiry question. Thus, from the study I concluded that, the inquirybased teaching approach is an effective way to enhance students' learning in science.

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