Roles in Research: Finding the Balance between Independence
and Guidance for Inquiry Learning
by J. Shirk and M.E. Krasny at the 87th Annual Meetings
of the Ecological Society of America. Tucson, AZ, 2002.
science education standards call for more inquiry learning
in K-12 classrooms, definitions of inquiry vary widely and
a need exists to evaluate various methods for engaging students
in this style of learning. One inquiry approach involves
students in conducting authentic research. We undertook
a study to determine whether students who define their own
research questions are more invested in their project than
students presented with a question to investigate. Indications
are that students will choose questions that inspire their
interest through relevance and curiosity, but that a balance
is necessary between allowing independence in research design
and guiding the process for novice researchers' success.