The impact of science teachers' epistemological beliefs on authentic inquiry : a multiple-case study.
Jackson, Dionne Bennett.
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The purpose of this study was to examine how science teachers' epistemological beliefs impacted their use of authentic inquiry in science instruction. Participants in this multiple-case study included a total of four teachers who represented the middle, secondary and post-secondary levels. Based on the results of the pilot study conducted with a secondary science teacher, adjustments were made to the interview questions and observation protocol. Data collection for the study included semi-structured interviews, direct observations of instructional techniques, and the collection of artifacts. The cross case analysis revealed that the cases epistemological beliefs were mostly Transitional and the method of instruction used most was Discussion. Two of the cases exhibited consistent beliefs and instructional practices, whereas the other two exhibited beliefs beyond their instruction. The findings of this study support the literature on the influence of contextual factors and professional development on teacher beliefs and practice. The findings support and contradict literature relevant to the consistency of teacher beliefs with instruction. This study's findings revealed that the use of reform-based instruction, or Authentic Inquiry, does not occur when science teachers do not have the beliefs and experiences necessary to implement this form of instruction.