• dynamic inquiry;
  • guided inquiry;
  • inquiry-based learning;
  • open inquiry;
  • performance


Dynamic inquiry learning emphasizes aspects of change, intellectual flexibility, and critical thinking. Dynamic inquiry learning is characterized by the following criteria: learning as a process, changes during the inquiry, procedural understanding, and affective points of view. This study compared the influence of open versus guided inquiry learning approaches on dynamic inquiry performances among high-school biology students. We hypothesized that open inquiry students who engage in the inquiry process from its initial stage, participating in the decision making process of asking inquiry questions and planning all aspects of the inquiry, will outperform students who experienced guided inquiry, in terms of developing dynamic inquiry performances. Students were divided into two groups: guided and open inquiry learning approaches. Both groups were followed throughout their 2-year inquiry learning process. The data sources included interviews, students' inquiry summary papers, logbooks, and reflections. A quantitative content analysis of the two groups, using a dynamic inquiry performances index, revealed that open inquiry students used significantly higher levels of performances in the criteria “changes during inquiry” and “procedural understanding.” However, the study's results indicated no significant differences in the criteria “learning as a process” and “affective points of view.” The implementation of dynamic inquiry performances during inquiry learning may shed light on the procedural and epistemological scientific understanding of students conducting inquiries. © 2009 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Res Sci Teach 46: 1137–1160, 2009