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Research & Teaching

Comparing Undergraduate Nature of Science Views in Traditional Versus Inquiry-Taught Science Courses

Journal of College Science Teaching—Fall 2023 (Volume 52, Issue 7)

By Alex T. St. Louis and Hayat Hokayem

This qualitative study compares the views about nature of science (NOS) between students enrolled in a traditional lecture and laboratory course and students in an inquiry-based class to the view of the scientists who taught the course. We administered the Views of Nature of Science Form C (VNOS-C) to identify students’ views after partaking in two different pedagogical-style courses (either the traditional course or inquiry-based course). We report on two aspects of VNOS-C: definition and explanation of science and role of creativity and imagination within the scientific process. The data showed that the students in the inquiry-based section held slightly more concrete views of creativity and imagination in science and more informed views of science and that they held similar NOS views to the scientist. This study shows that even if you teach inquiry as means, students tend to form transitional or even informed views of the roles of imagination and creativity in the scientific endeavor. 
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