Undergraduates' & Faculty Members' Views on Scientific Reading & Communication in Authentic Inquiry

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Scientific reading and communication have become key components in postsecondary science education. However, undergraduates have often been found to lack motivation to engage in these tasks. The present study surveyed 2098 undergraduates and 27 biology faculty members to compare their views on the importance and time cost of eight practices in authentic inquiry. Overall, the undergraduates considered scientific reading and communication less important than other inquiry practices (e.g., data analysis), whereas the faculty members ranked reading and writing highly important. The undergraduates who ranked scientific reading and communicative practices important tended to include the purposes and functions of these practices in their explanations. In contrast, the undergraduates who ranked the practices less important expressed multiple misconceptions about the applications of reading and communication, including that they are peripheral research components; they may not affect the inquiry results; they come after experiments; they are less important than other practices; and they are unnecessary. Four inquiry perspectives were identified from the respondents, including collective equality, knowledge generation, chronological order, and time investment. These perspectives significantly impacted undergraduates' rankings on scientific reading and communication practices and six underlying perceptions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)143-151
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Biology Teacher
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 National Association of Biology Teachers, Inc. All rights reserved.


  • Authentic inquiry
  • College science instruction
  • Scientific reading and communication

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (all)


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