• alternative certification program;
  • science teacher education;
  • inquiry;
  • secondary science teaching;
  • views of inquiry;
  • beginning science teachers


The purpose of this phenomenographic study was to: (a) gain an understanding of the meaning of inquiry held by beginning science teachers and their instructors in an Alternative Teacher Certification Program (ATCP); and (b) compare science teachers' views of inquiry with what they learned in their ATCP. Participants were four beginning science teachers and two faculty members involved in teaching science methods courses in the ATCP. Semi-structured interviews, classroom observations, field notes, and written materials were the data sources. The primary data sources for the study were six to15 hours of classroom observation of teaching and learning and approximately 8 hours of interviewing with each teacher. Interviews with each faculty member were also completed. These interviews required 60–75 minutes. A phenomenological data analysis approach [Uljens, M. (1996). On the philosophical foundation of phenomenography. In G. Dall'Alba & B. Hasselgren (Eds.), Reflections on Phenomenography—Toward a methodology? (pp. 105–130). Göteborg: Acta Universitatis Gothoburgensis] was used to complete qualitative analyses and categorical summaries of the data. The results showed that the teachers held rather incomplete views of inquiry-based teaching [National Research Council. (2000). Inquiry and the national science education standards. Washington, DC: National Academy Press], and these views were highly discrepant with the views of teacher education faculty. Implication of the findings for science teacher education and future research on the development of inquiry-based practices are discussed. © 2009 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Res Sci Teach 47:716–741, 2010