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Version 1.2 – Updated June 2023

Inquiry-based teaching


  • Influence: Inquiry-based teaching
  • Domain: Teaching Strategies
  • Sub-Domain: Instructional strategies
  • Potential to Accelerate Student Achievement: Potential to considerably accelerate
  • Influence Definition: Inquiry-based instruction is a student-centered approach where the instructor guides the students through questions posed, methods designed, and data interpreted by the students. Through inquiry, the aim is for students to actively discover information and accumulate evidence to support their investigations. This could include asking questions and solving problems and often includes procedures such as small-scale investigations and practical projects.


  • Number of meta-analyses: 13
  • Number of studies: 450
  • Number of students: 19,364
  • Number of effects: 665
  • Weighted mean effect size: 0.53
  • Robustness index: 4


Journal Title Author First Author's Country Article Name Year Published Variable Number of Studies Number of Students Number of Effects Effect Size
Journal of Research in Science Teaching Sweitzer & Anderson USA A meta-analysis of research on science teacher education practices associated with inquiry strategy 1983 Inquiry teaching in science 68 0 19 0.44
Journal of Research in Science Teaching Shymansky, Hedges & Woodworth USA A reassessment of the effects of inquiry-based science curricula of the 60's on student performance 1990 Inquiry methods in science 81 0 320 0.27
Conference paper Bangert-Drowns USA Meta-Analysis of the Effects of Inquiry-Based Instruction on Critical Thinking 1992 Inquiry teaching effects on critical thinking 21 0 21 0.37
Tadris: Jurnal Keguruan dan Ilmu Tarbiyah Abdurrahman Indonesia Efektivitas dan Kendala Pembelajaran Sains Berbasis Inkuiri terhadap Capaian Dimensi Kognitif Siswa: Meta Analisis.  2017 Inquiry methods in science 15 2,118 15 0.46
International Journal of Education and Literacy Studies Kaçar, Terzi, Arikan, & Kirikçi Turkey The Effect of Inquiry-Based Learning on Academic Success: A Meta-Analysis Study.  2021 Inquiry methods 30 0 30 1.15
Conference paper Ramallosa, Funa, Geron, Ibardaloza, & Prudente Turkey Meta-Analysis on the Effectiveness of Argument-Based Learning on Students' Conceptual Understanding 2022 Argumentation in science 14 0 14 0.80
International Journal of Human Sciences Çömek, Sariçayir, & Erdogan Turkey Effectiveness of the argumentation method: A meta-analysis. 2015 Argumentation in science 25 1,518 25 1.00
Journal of Pedagogical Research Heindl Germany Inquiry-based learning and the pre-requisite for its use in science at school: A meta-analysis. 2019 Inquiry methods in science 13 0 13 0.74
Dissertation Smith USA A meta-analysis of student outcomes attributable to the teaching of science as inquiry as compared to traditional methodology 1997 Inquiry method in science 35 7,437 60 0.17
Review of Educational Research Lazonder & Harmsen Netherlands Meta-Analysis of Inquiry-Based Learning: Effects of Guidance 2016 Inquiry learning 72 0 72 0.62
AERA Open Estrella, Au, Jaeggi, & Collins USA Is Inquiry Science Instruction Effective for English Language Learners? A Meta-Analytic Review 2018 Inquiry on ELL science 23 8,291 23 0.28
Journal of the Turkish Science Education Aktamis, Hidge, & Ozden Turkey Effects of the inquiry-based learning method on student's' achievements, science process skills, and attitude towards science: A meta-analysis science 2016 Inquiry learning in science 16 0 16 1.03
Review of Educational Research Furtak, Seidel, Iverson & Briggs USA Experimental and quasi-experimental studies of inquiry-based science teaching: A meta-analysis 1998 Inquiry method in science 37 0 37 0.50
TOTAL/AVERAGE 450 19,364 665 0.60
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