Freek Pols successfully defended his PhD thesis

Nieuws - 18 januari 2023 - Communication ImPhys

On January 17th Freek Pols successfully defended his PhD thesis on "Development of a teaching-learning sequence for scientific inquiry through argumentation in secondary physics education".


Enabling students to engage in independent scientific inquiry is a highly valued but seemingly elusive goal of (secondary school) science education. Therefore, this study aims to determine and understand how to effectively develop inquiry knowledge in students. The chosen approach to enable students to plan, carry out and evaluate a physics inquiry, is to regard an inquiry as the construction of a scientifically cogent argument for a specific claim. In an authentic scientific inquiry, the researcher invests - from the very start of the inquiry - time and effort in making the inquiry’s claim as indisputable as possible. The researcher strives for optimal cogency of the argument in support of that claim. Throughout the various studies in this thesis it is argued that this idea can be translated to classroom situations: fostering the insight that students’ inquiry should result in a complete, correct and substantiated answer to the research question. It is shown that this is a meaningful strategy in enabling them to engage in independent scientific inquiry: it results in a cognitive need in students to develop the knowledge that allows them to produce such an answer. As such, this thesis shows that argumentation is an indispensable part of teaching scientific inquiry. Explicit attention for argumentation promotes development of students’ inquiry knowledge.

de Vries, M.J. (promotor) 
Dekkers, P.J.J.M. (copromotor)