Although closely related to science processes, scientific inquiry extends beyond the mere development of process skill such as observing, inferring, classifying, predicting, measuring, questioning, interpreting and analysing data. Science inquiry includes not only the traditional science process, but also refers to combining of these processes with scientific knowledge, scientific reasoning and critical thinking to develop scientific knowledge. In addition, to do research or inquiry, it is expected that all students understand the rational of an investigation and are able to analyse critically the claims made from the data collected. One important understanding about scientific inquiry is known as the scientific method, fixed set and sequence of research steps.
Initially, science teachers regularly ask pupils to make novel observations. For non-scientists, this appears to be the starting point for how science can make new reliable knowledge. A scientist’s work might be interpreted as simply looking at the natural world that might be a little bit harder and more carefully than ordinary people. However, without having ideas about what is being observed, is this possible? Lewis Wolpert (1992) is one recent commentator who points out that if ideas are common sense then they are probably not scientific.
When we say ‘science lesson’ to most people, they would probably think of something involving practical work. High school science curriculum focuses more on explorations and investigation. These are not synonyms, the change of word is important and indicates a more thoughtful approach to science education. In science education, student build knowledge; they build knowledge about the content of science and about the way in which science is done (Dillon and Monk,1996). In doing this, they invariably practice the processes of science. This course concentrates on the science teacher’s role in setting up research, managing and assessing the type work in science called scientific research. By research means any activity in which students use the processes of science to build knowledge.