ABSTRACT: Teachers’ use of inquiry has been studied largely without regard for the
disciplines in which teachers practice. As a result, there is no theoretical understanding of
the possible role of discipline in shaping teachers’ conceptions and enactment of inquiry.
In this mixed-methods study, conceptions and enactment of inquiry for 60 National Board
Certified Science Teachers (NBCSTs) across the secondary science disciplines of biology,
chemistry, earth science, and physics were investigated. A situated cognitive framework
was used. Through the analysis of portfolio text (n = 48) and participant interviews (n =
12), themes emerged for participants’ conceptions and enactment of inquiry. Findings
suggested that disciplinary differences exist between NBCSTs’ conceptions and enactment
of inquiry. Furthermore, individuals teaching in more than one discipline often held different
conceptions of inquiry depending on the discipline in which they were teaching. A key
implication was the critical importance of considering the discipline in understanding
science teachers’ varied conceptions and enactment of inquiry. C _ 2011 Wiley Periodicals,
Inc. Sci Ed 96:48 – 77, 2012
Your discipline affects your use of inquiry in your classroom.