“This question is too personal!” Guided Inquiry as Part of Teaching Human Geography Research Methods


  • Günther WEISS, Elisabeth GOHRBANDT University of Cologne, Cologne, GERMANY


Inquiry-based Learning, Human Geography Research Methods


Although inquiry-based learning is connected with a number of advantages, especially in the field of human geography, very little research has been carried out in lessons by the learners themselves to date. The aim of the study at hand is, therefore, to facilitate the process of solving problems from the sphere of human geography through the use of guided inquiry in geography lessons. To encourage the learners to recognise the purpose of the rules of research, two distinct teaching concepts were developed and empirically tested: selection decisions and a simulated pre-test. The assessed instruction was prepared and realised in two 5th form classes at a grammar school with 47 learners in total. The evaluation of the lessons was done through a standardised test to determine accrued learning and partly standardised observation of learners’ performance and motivation. The observation confirmed that the learners welcomed the opportunity to conduct research independently and that they engaged enthusiastically. Nevertheless, details of the research design tended to be dealt with intuitively or based on previous knowledge. There is no clear evidence of success of the methods training. The observations allow the conclusion that the simulated pretest passes by too quickly and harbours too many distractions. Meanwhile, the selection principle with a parallel discussion are more likely to lead to success.