Friday, February 5, 2010

Re: Metastudy on impact of inquiry in k-12 - Response to Wurman

Some blog followers might be interested in a recent discussion-list post of the above title. The abstract reads:


ABSTRACT: In the abstract of a previous post “Re: Metastudy on impact of inquiry in k-12” [Hake (2010)], I wrote: “Joe Bellina (2010), in a post 'Metastudy on impact of inquiry in k-12' ALERTED subscribers to ‘Inquiry-Based Science Instruction - What Is It and Does It Matter? Results from a Research Synthesis Years 1984 to 2002’ [Minner, Levy, & Century (2009)].”

Ze'ev Wurman (2010), evidently misunderstanding the above, responded (paraphrasing) “Would Hake care to speculate as to the reasons Joe BELLINA RESTRICTED HIS RESEARCH to 1984-2002 and ignored the last 7 years of rather fruitful studies in this area?”

Ze'ev apparently did not scan the abstract of Minner et al. (2009) in which the authors give the following reasons for restricting their research (not Bellina's) to data from 1984 to 2002 (paraphrasing): “[That timeframe] was selected to continue a line of synthesis work last completed in 1983 by Bredderman (1983) and by Shymansky et al. (1983), and to accommodate a practicable cutoff date given the research project timeline, which ran from 2001 to 2006.”

If Ze'ev and others suspect that Minner et al. may have cherry picked 1984-2002 so as to “focus on data from periods that suited their theses,” then to make a case they would need to provide data outside the 1984-2002 period that conflicts with Minner et al.'s indication of “a clear, positive trend favoring inquiry-based instructional practices.”

My survey of data in “Direct Science Instruction Suffers a Setback in California - Or Does It?” [Hake (2004)] showed that ALL the data, including that outside the 1984-2002 period, was generally consistent with the pro-inquiry assessment of Minner et al. (2009).

Not surveyed was “Why Minimal Guidance During Instruction Does Not Work: An Analysis of the Failure of Constructivist, Discovery, Problem-Based, Experiential, and Inquiry-Based Teaching” [Kirschner, Sweller, & Clark (2006)]. But that paper, despite its misleading title, does not counter the theses of Minner et al. (2009), as explained in e.g., “Language Ambiguities in Education Research” [Hake (2008b)].


To access the complete 26 kB post please click on .

REFERENCES [Tiny URL's courtesy]

Hake, R.R. 2010. “Re: Metastudy on impact of inquiry in k-12” online at Post of 3 Feb 2010 8:40 am EST to AERA-L, Net-Gold, and PhysLrnR. The abstract was also transmitted to various discussion lists and appears at with a provision for comments.

Hake, R.R. 2008b. “Language Ambiguities in Education Research,” submitted to the Journal of Learning Sciences on 21 August but mindlessly rejected; online at (1.2 MB) and as ref. 54 at David Klahr wrote to me privately (quoted by permission): “I liked the paper. I think it's very thoughtful and nuanced. However it is tough going, even for someone as familiar with the issues (and as favorably cited by you) as I am. It's a shame that it was rejected, but I wonder if the reviewer just wasn't up to the very careful reading necessary to really follow your arguments all the way through. Even though I know this area quite well, obviously, I did have to really focus to fully understand the distinctions you were making.”

Minner, D.D. , A.J. Levy, & J. Century. 2009. “Inquiry-Based Science Instruction - What Is It and Does It Matter? Results from a Research Synthesis Years 1984 to 2002,” Journal of Research in Science Teaching, Early View (Articles online in advance of print); online to subscribers at

Wurman, Z. 2010. "Re: Metastudy on impact of inquiry in k-12," post of 4 Feb 2010 13:23:52 -0800 to AP-Physics, Biopi-L, EvalTalk, Physhare, and Physoc; online on the PHYSOC archives at To access the archives of PHYSOC one needs to subscribe, but that takes only a few minutes by clicking on and then clicking on "Join or leave the list (or change settings)." If you're busy, then subscribe using the "NOMAIL" option under "Miscellaneous." Then, as a subscriber, you may access the archives and/or post messages at any time, while receiving NO MAIL from the list!

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