Analysis of the project synthesis goal cluster orientation and inquiry emphasis of elementary science textbooks
Article first published online: 18 AUG 2006
Copyright © 1987 Wiley Periodicals, Inc., A Wiley Company
Journal of Research in Science Teaching
Volume 24, Issue 7, pages 629–643, October 1987
How to Cite
Staver, J. R. and Bay, M. (1987), Analysis of the project synthesis goal cluster orientation and inquiry emphasis of elementary science textbooks. J. Res. Sci. Teach., 24: 629–643. doi: 10.1002/tea.3660240704
- Issue published online: 18 AUG 2006
- Article first published online: 18 AUG 2006
- Manuscript Accepted: 10 OCT 1986
The purpose of this descriptive study was to examine selected units of commonly used elementary science texts, using the Project Synthesis goal clusters as a framework for part of the examination. An inquiry classification scheme was used for the remaining segment. Four questions were answered: (1) To what extent do elementary science textbooks focus on each Project Synthesis goal cluster? (2) In which part of the text is such information found? (3) To what extent are the activities and experiments merely verifications of information already introduced in the text? (4) If inquiry is present in an activity, then what is the level of such inquiry?
Eleven science textbook series, which comprise approximately 90 percent of the national market, were selected for analysis. Two units, one primary (K-3) and one intermediate (4-6), were selected for analysis by first identifying units common to most series, then randomly selecting one primary and one intermediate unit for analysis.
Each randomly selected unit was carefully read, using the sentence as the unit of analysis. Each declarative and interrogative sentence in the body of the text was classified as: (1) academic; (2) personal; (3) career; or (4) societal in its focus. Each illustration, except those used in evaluation items, was similarly classified. Each activity/experiment and each miscellaneous sentence in end-of-chapter segments labelled “review,” “summary,” “evaluation,” etc., were similarly classified. Finally, each activity/experiment, as a whole, was categorized according to a four-category inquiry scheme (confirmation, structured inquiry, guided inquiry, open inquiry).
In general, results of the analysis are: (1) most text prose focuses on academic science; (2) most remaining text prose focuses on the personal goal cluster; (3) the career and societal goal clusters receive only minor attention; (4) text illustrations exhibit a pattern similar to text prose; (5) text activities/experiments are academic in orientation, almost to the exclusion of other goal clusters; (6) end-of-chapter sentences are largely academic; (7) inquiry is absent or present only in limited forms in text activities/experiments; and (8) texts allocate only a minor portion of space to activities/experiments. Detailed findings are given as numeral, percentage, and decimal values. Discussion focuses on the implications of the results and a comparison of NSTA recommendations with the results of this analysis.