An Action Research Study of the Use of Inquiry Laboratory Practicals

Madden, Billy and Palmer, Marion (2013) An Action Research Study of the Use of Inquiry Laboratory Practicals. In: 5th Eurovariety in Chemistry Education, University of Limerick, 3rd – 5th July 2013. “Smarter Teaching-Better Learning, Limerick, Ireland..

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This study assessed the effect of varying the degree of inquiry in laboratory practicals in an Institute of Technology Level 7 module in chemical instrumentation. A range of laboratory instruction styles were assessed for their suitability for use in Level 7 chemical instrumentation laboratory practicals and comparative studies of these styles from the literature were reviewed. An action research framework was adopted, which collected data from students and staff in the Institute as well as looking at course, departmental and institutional documentation. Action research changes were implemented to increase the degree of inquiry in chemical instrumentation laboratory practicals. A range of research instruments were used to plan, monitor and observe the effects of these action research changes. The findings from these research instruments showed that increasing the degree of inquiry in laboratory practicals from the level of structured investigation to unstructured investigation was welcomed by students and that incorporating pre-lab and post-lab exercises as part of the transition to a higher degree of inquiry was specifically identified as leading to improved student understanding of laboratory practicals. Using an action research framework resulted in improvements to the running of the chemical instrumentation laboratory practicals while also causing the researcher to alter his own behaviour in laboratory practicals to aid student learning.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Depositing User: National Forum
Date Deposited: 04 Dec 2015 08:25
Last Modified: 04 Dec 2015 08:35

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