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Laboratory apprenticeship through a student research project

Ritchie, S.M. and Rigano, D.L. (1996) Laboratory apprenticeship through a student research project. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 33 (7). pp. 799-815.

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There has been a long tradition of laboratory activities associated with science instruction. Despite constructivists' claims advocating open-ended inquiry and mentoring, little is known about what students are thinking when engaged in laboratory activities. Laboratory learning as a process of cognitive apprenticeship has been proposed as a metaphor to guide teacher practice and student learning. The viability of cognitive apprenticeship for learning science in school is discussed in relation to findings from an investigation of a research project involving high school students working in a university chemical engineering laboratory under the mentorship of a university-based scientist. Data from a variety of techniques were analyzed in an interpretive style. We found that the students were empowered to seek empirically viable knowledge claims as they became independent researchers. However, we argue that caution needs to be exercised before advocating open-ended inquiry as a general model for laboratory learning without additional studies in different contexts.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell
Copyright: © 1996 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
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