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Constructing a model of engagement in scientific inquiry: investigating relationships between inquiry-related curiosity, dimensions of engagement, and inquiry abilities

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Abstract

According to policy documents and research studies, one key objective of science education is to develop students’ inquiry abilities; however, relatively little is known about the interplay among students’ inquiry abilities, the dimensions of their engagement, and their inquiry-related curiosity. The purpose of this study is to explore how four dimensions of engagement (i.e., cognitive, behavioral, emotional, and social) were driven by inquiry-related curiosity and how they affected the students’ inquiry abilities. Structural equation modeling was employed to analyze data collected from 605 11th graders, including their responses to items in an online questionnaire and their performances on a computer-based assessment of scientific inquiry abilities. The results showed that students’ curiosity was associated with their inquiry abilities, and such an association was partially mediated by the four dimensions of engagement in science laboratory classes. Moreover, the results revealed that among the four dimensions of engagement, only cognitive and emotional engagement had significant total effects on students’ inquiry abilities and that the influence of behavioral and social engagement on inquiry abilities was completely mediated by cognitive engagement. This study suggests a critical role played by emotional engagement, cognitive engagement, and curiosity in developing students’ inquiry abilities.

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Acknowledgements

This study was finally supported by the Ministry of Science and Technology in Taiwan under MOST 103–2511-S-003–038-MY4, MOST 106–2511-S-003–046-MY3, and the “Institute for Research Excellence in Learning Sciences” of National Taiwan Normal University from The Featured Areas Research Center Program within the framework of the Higher Education Sprout Project by the Ministry of Education in Taiwan.

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Correspondence to Hsin-Kai Wu.

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Appendices

Appendix A

Descriptive statistics of the indicators.

IndicatorsPv_1Curi1Curi2Curi3Curi4Curi5CE_1CE_2CE_3CE_4
N605605605605605605605605605605
Kolmogorov–Smirnova0.056***0.365***0.346***0.313***0.331***0.317***0.245***0.235***0.236***0.287***
Mean0.2473.143.093.153.213.062.822.742.672.99
Std. Deviation0.6630.6010.6280.6560.6280.6780.7550.7990.7930.747
Variance0.4400.3620.3950.430.3950.460.5710.6390.6290.558
Minimum− 1.891111111111
Maximum2.150444444444
IndicatorsCE_5CE_6CE_7CE_8CE_9BE_1BE_2BE_3BE_4
N605605605605605605605605605
Kolmogorov–Smirnova0.300***0.293***0.240***0.251***0.224***0.269***0.271***0.290***0.231***
Mean2.922.92.472.582.653.043.072.942.67
Std. Deviation0.7770.7750.8150.8270.8360.7220.7160.7240.793
Variance0.6040.60.6640.6850.6990.5220.5120.5250.629
Minimum111111111
Maximum444444444
IndicatorsBE_5BE_6BE_7BE_8EE_1EE_2EE_3EE_4EE_5EE_6
N605605605605605605605605605605
Kolmogorov–Smirnova0.319***0.492***0.271***0.394***0.196***0.230***0.260***0.262***0.285***0.410***
Mean2.243.763.293.552.822.872.962.883.333.56
Std. Deviation0.7480.5580.680.6630.9060.8420.7970.8170.7340.713
Variance0.5590.3120.4620.440.8210.7090.6360.6680.5390.509
Minimum1111111111
Maximum4444444444
IndicatorsEE_7EE_8EE_9SE_1SE_2SE_3SE_4SE_5SE_6
N605605605605605605605605605
Kolmogorov–Smirnova0.438***0.458***0.437***0.257***0.257***0.297***0.290***0.309***0.366***
Mean3.613.693.632.552.62.942.783.333.49
Std. Deviation0.6780.5980.6260.7650.7880.7330.7480.8040.729
Variance0.460.3580.3920.5850.6210.5380.5590.6470.532
Minimum111111111
Maximum444444444

aThe value of Kolmogorov–Smirnov represents the tests of normality

*p < 0.05. **p < 0.01. ***p < 0.001

Appendix B

Correlation matrix of the indicators (N = 605).

Indicatorspv_1Curi1Curi2Curi3Curi4Curi5CE_1CE_2CE_3CE_4
pv_11         
Curi10.170**1        
Curi20.132**0.637**1       
Curi30.214**0.574**0.663**1      
Curi40.219**0.630**0.616**0.698**1     
Curi50.160**0.576**0.571**0.620**0.662**1    
CE_10.109**0.293**0.263**0.269**0.330**0.344**1   
CE_20.0780.356**0.322**0.327**0.369**0.337**0.431**1  
CE_30.122**0.332**0.288**0.294**0.349**0.348**0.346**0.618**1 
CE_40.210**0.390**0.383**0.364**0.445**0.396**0.508**0.521**0.526**1
CE_50.050.0050.0460.119**0.0130.0160.070.117**0.0190.079
CE_60.099*0.089*0.104*0.119**0.082*0.103*0.0620.112**0.0170.130**
CE_7− 0.06− 0.021− 0.036− 0.036− 0.062− 0.042− 0.099*0.120**0.092*0.045
CE_80.0760.268**0.275**0.265**0.272**0.275**0.391**0.446**0.433**0.399**
CE_90.142**0.312**0.302**0.366**0.324**0.338**0.304**0.446**0.508**0.467**
BE_10.135**0.247**0.288**0.289**0.308**0.303**0.509**0.335**0.316**0.455**
BE_20.157**0.305**0.344**0.359**0.385**0.347**0.487**0.363**0.357**0.493**
BE_30.165**0.354**0.360**0.395**0.412**0.374**0.489**0.495**0.402**0.574**
BE_40.0550.239**0.198**0.227**0.219**0.231**0.357**0.247**0.234**0.289**
BE_50.0060.288**0.283**0.287**0.281**0.295**0.251**0.352**0.395**0.347**
BE_60.245**0.0340.0410.100*0.0630.0640.154**0.0250.0110.158**
BE_70.128**0.0310.0790.130**0.089*0.0560.192**0.0720.020.125**
BE_80.188**0.158**0.150**0.187**0.174**0.129**0.171**0.153**0.0770.240**
EE_10.210**0.250**0.298**0.332**0.321**0.303**0.365**0.312**0.239**0.348**
EE_20.183**0.267**0.370**0.382**0.354**0.336**0.407**0.406**0.350**0.441**
EE_30.213**0.344**0.424**0.452**0.411**0.418**0.392**0.456**0.397**0.480**
EE_40.174**0.244**0.278**0.287**0.326**0.264**0.338**0.346**0.279**0.386**
EE_50.0630.020.124**0.143**0.0760.110**0.136**0.097*0.0250.135**
EE_60.129**0.0330.124**0.165**0.123**0.126**0.133**0.104*0.030.195**
EE_70.203**0.113**0.189**0.237**0.149**0.202**0.207**0.145**0.152**0.265**
EE_80.131**0.0470.086*0.100*0.082*0.0660.085*0.0180.0230.131**
EE_90.160**0.030.0730.0680.091*0.0360.04− 0.010.0120.086*
SE_10.0750.352**0.354**0.314**0.365**0.370**0.334**0.499**0.500**0.445**
SE_20.096*0.278**0.368**0.357**0.343**0.379**0.320**0.392**0.410**0.442**
SE_30.171**0.241**0.231**0.291**0.355**0.304**0.300**0.295**0.332**0.377**
SE_40.139**0.284**0.267**0.294**0.320**0.310**0.396**0.420**0.397**0.453**
SE_50.050.0370.096*0.082*0.0540.0490.085*0.0210.0640.071
SE_60.126**0.0480.084*0.129**0.0770.099*0.0770.088*0.109**0.108**
IndicatorsCE_5CE_6CE_7CE_8CE_9BE_1BE_2BE_3BE_4
pv_1         
Curi1         
Curi2         
Curi3         
Curi4         
Curi5         
CE_1         
CE_2         
CE_3         
CE_4         
CE_51        
CE_60.610**1       
CE_70.309**0.393**1      
CE_80.109**0.0680.0491     
CE_90.0690.086*0.080*0.494**1    
BE_10.109**0.143**− 0.080*0.264**0.312**1   
BE_20.087*0.150**− 0.0110.288**0.352**0.866**1  
BE_30.150**0.264**0.0610.360**0.409**0.646**0.675**1 
BE_40.108**0.100*− 0.131**0.236**0.201**0.504**0.473**0.465**1
BE_50.0090.0570.0050.382**0.439**0.303**0.342**0.380**0.353**
BE_60.274**0.287**0.138**0.0180.0180.165**0.201**0.150**0.019
BE_70.354**0.401**0.159**0.0580.0710.292**0.273**0.219**0.174**
BE_80.354**0.441**0.235**0.144**0.127**0.176**0.230**0.322**0.077
EE_10.094*0.212**0.094*0.245**0.265**0.447**0.462**0.479**0.218**
EE_20.160**0.235**0.102*0.328**0.370**0.558**0.570**0.579**0.298**
EE_30.123**0.178**0.099*0.380**0.438**0.520**0.556**0.581**0.277**
EE_40.088*0.174**0.0770.234**0.317**0.450**0.449**0.503**0.259**
EE_50.330**0.354**0.165**0.0760.0490.268**0.277**0.266**0.133**
EE_60.264**0.324**0.154**0.098*0.0660.247**0.252**0.284**0.115**
EE_70.293**0.348**0.151**0.144**0.156**0.323**0.333**0.345**0.195**
EE_80.182**0.248**0.142**0.0150.0310.172**0.207**0.188**0.096*
EE_90.147**0.239**0.134**− 0.06− 0.010.125**0.176**0.117**0.025
SE_10.0450.092*0.0680.381**0.519**0.380**0.384**0.476**0.255**
SE_20.0560.109**0.0410.388**0.451**0.372**0.402**0.467**0.373**
SE_3− 0.029− 0.005− 0.082*0.282**0.332**0.351**0.361**0.330**0.276**
SE_40.0650.092*0.0080.316**0.419**0.444**0.429**0.481**0.296**
SE_50.220**0.247**0.203**0.0650.050.150**0.149**0.104*0.171**
SE_60.183**0.236**0.188**0.085*0.200**0.130**0.157**0.107**0.089*
IndicatorsBE_5BE_6BE_7BE_8EE_1EE_2EE_3EE_4EE_5EE_6
pv_1          
Curi1          
Curi2          
Curi3          
Curi4          
Curi5          
CE_1          
CE_2          
CE_3          
CE_4          
CE_5          
CE_6          
CE_7          
CE_8          
CE_9          
BE_1          
BE_2          
BE_3          
BE_4          
BE_51         
BE_6− 0.121**1        
BE_70.0610.508**1       
BE_80.0080.577**0.522**1      
EE_10.287**0.204**0.210**0.210**1     
EE_20.361**0.189**0.236**0.230**0.778**1    
EE_30.414**0.171**0.218**0.222**0.682**0.835**1   
EE_40.304**0.184**0.236**0.195**0.633**0.634**0.628**1  
EE_50.101*0.350**0.424**0.381**0.371**0.377**0.315**0.300**1 
EE_60.0550.448**0.435**0.430**0.465**0.406**0.323**0.350**0.677**1
EE_70.143**0.449**0.444**0.489**0.386**0.405**0.374**0.296**0.546**0.677**
EE_8− 0.0370.430**0.376**0.398**0.216**0.206**0.171**0.249**0.457**0.525**
EE_9− 0.0250.340**0.323**0.361**0.128**0.136**0.106**0.177**0.328**0.355**
SE_10.447**− 0.010.0450.090*0.334**0.413**0.450**0.320**0.0740.091*
SE_20.464**0.0580.118**0.135**0.354**0.461**0.464**0.374**0.109**0.138**
SE_30.292**0.110**0.0690.0760.328**0.333**0.350**0.364**0.114**0.132**
SE_40.375**0.084*0.107**0.092*0.407**0.419**0.421**0.431**0.162**0.199**
SE_50.082*0.293**0.299**0.306**0.129**0.198**0.117**0.101*0.285**0.316**
SE_60.082*0.396**0.337**0.335**0.160**0.201**0.171**0.144**0.261**0.316**
IndicatorsEE_7EE_8EE_9SE_1SE_2SE_3SE_4SE_5SE_6
pv_1         
Curi1         
Curi2         
Curi3         
Curi4         
Curi5         
CE_1         
CE_2         
CE_3         
CE_4         
CE_5         
CE_6         
CE_7         
CE_8         
CE_9         
BE_1         
BE_2         
BE_3         
BE_4         
BE_5         
BE_6         
BE_7         
BE_8         
EE_1         
EE_2         
EE_3         
EE_4         
EE_5         
EE_6         
EE_71        
EE_80.496**1       
EE_90.397**0.574**1      
SE_10.156**− 0.03− 0.0221     
SE_20.235**0.0140.0170.663**1    
SE_30.155**0.0240.0480.406**0.474**1   
SE_40.223**0.0610.0790.490**0.501**0.549**1  
SE_50.396**0.265**0.178**0.0630.246**0.0680.097*1 
SE_60.349**0.394**0.297**0.0580.163**0.139**0.163**0.474**1

PV_1 represents the first of the plausible values to which the indicator of students’ inquiry abilities refers. Curi1 to Curi5 represent the indicators of the inquiry-related curiosity. CE_1 to CE_9 represent the indicators of the students’ cognitive engagement. BE_1 to BE_8 represent the indicators of the students’ behavioral engagement. EE_1 to EE_9 represent the indicators of the students’ emotional engagement. SE_1 to SE_6 represent the indicators of the students’ social engagement.

*p < 0.05. **p < 0.01. ***p < 0.001

Appendix C

Validation of the 37 indicators (N = 605).

Variable/indicatorsCronbach's αCronbach's α if Indicator Deleted
Curi0.89(5)a
Curi_10.707
Curi_20.732
Curi_30.757
Curi_40.777
Curi_50.712
CE0.77 (9)a0.83 (6)a
CE_10.75
CE_20.72
CE_30.73
CE_40.73
CE_5b0.77
CE_6b0.76
CE_7b0.78
CE_80.73
CE_90.73
BE0.80 (8)a0.80 (6)a
BE_10.74
BE_20.74
BE_30.75
BE_40.78
BE_5b0.81
BE_6b0.80
BE_70.79
BE_80.79
EE0.87 (9)a0.88 (7)a
EE_10.84
EE_20.84
EE_30.85
EE_40.85
EE_50.85
EE_60.85
EE_70.85
EE_8b0.86
EE_9b0.87
SE0.72 (6)a0.81 (4)a
SE_10.66
SE_20.62
SE_30.68
SE_40.66
SE_5b0.74
SE_6b0.73

aThe numbers in the parentheses show the numbers of indicators for each variable

bThe indicators were deleted for better reliabilities

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Wu, P., Wu, H. Constructing a model of engagement in scientific inquiry: investigating relationships between inquiry-related curiosity, dimensions of engagement, and inquiry abilities. Instr Sci (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11251-020-09503-8

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Keywords

  • Behavioral engagement
  • Cognitive engagement
  • Curiosity
  • Emotional engagement
  • Inquiry ability
  • Social engagement