Impact of a Youth Development Camp on Participants’ Skills, Attitudes, and Views Towards Science and Scientific Inquiry
Digweed, Bradley E.
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This mixed-methods research study sought to determine the impact of an informal science camp—the Youth Science Inquiry Development Camp (YSIDC)—on participants’ science inquiry skills, through self-assessment, as well as their views and attitudes towards science and scientific inquiry. Pre and post data were collected using quantitative surveys (SPSI, CARS), a qualitative survey (VOSI-E), interviews, and researcher’s observations. Paired sample t-tests from the quantitative surveys revealed that the YSIDC positively impacted participants’ science inquiry skills and attitudes towards science. Interviews supported these findings and provided contextual reasons for these impacts. Implications from this research would suggest that informal and formal educational institutions can increase science inquiry skills and promote positive views and attitudes towards science and scientific inquiry by using non-competitive cooperative learning strategies with a mixture of guided and open inquiry. Suggested directions for further research include measuring science inquiry skills directly and conducting longitudinal studies to determine the lasting effects of informal and formal science programs.