You are here:

Experimental Comparison of Inquiry and Direct Instruction in Science

, , , , , , ,

Research in Science & Technological Education Volume 28, Number 1, ISSN 0263-5143


There are continuing educational and political debates about "inquiry" versus "direct" teaching of science. Traditional science instruction has been largely direct but in the US, recent national and state science education standards advocate inquiry throughout K-12 education. While inquiry-based instruction has the advantage of modelling aspects of the nature of real scientific inquiry, there is little unconfounded comparative research into the effectiveness and efficiency of the two instructional modes for developing science conceptual understanding. This research undertook a controlled experimental study comparing the efficacy of carefully designed inquiry instruction and equally carefully designed direct instruction in realistic science classroom situations at the middle school grades. The research design addressed common threats to validity. We report on the nature of the instructional units in each mode, research design, methods, classroom implementations, monitoring, assessments, analysis and project findings. (Contains 3 figures.)


Cobern, W.W., Schuster, D., Adams, B., Applegate, B., Skjold, B., Undreiu, A., Loving, C.C. & Gobert, J.D. (2010). Experimental Comparison of Inquiry and Direct Instruction in Science. Research in Science & Technological Education, 28(1), 81-96. Retrieved April 13, 2021 from .

This record was imported from ERIC on December 3, 2015. [Original Record]

ERIC is sponsored by the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) of the U.S. Department of Education.

Copyright for this record is held by the content creator. For more details see ERIC's copyright policy.