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Social studies
Issues investigation
Inquiry-based learning
Issue Date: 
Office of Education Research, National Institute of Education, Singapore
Yang, P. (2020). Singapore secondary school teachers’ experiences with implementing Social Studies issues investigation: An exploratory study (Report No. SUG 07/18 YPD). National Institute of Education (Singapore), Office of Education Research.
Today, Inquiry-based Learning (IBL) is a powerful imperative in educational practice and a notable area of educational research. Past research has found IBL to be more effective than traditional/conventional classroom instruction strategies, but most evidence came from research on science instruction. In comparison, IBL in the social science and humanities subjects, particularly Social Studies (SS) education. appears to have been under-studied. This proposed study seeks to address this gap through investigating Singapore secondary school teachers' experiences with Issue Investigation the IBL component in the local SS syllabus. In Singapore, the emphasis on inquiry in SS is relatively new, and thus there is so far little research on this topic. Specifically, this study seeks to reveal how Issue Investigation is currently understood by SS teachers, with regard to its underlying rationale, purpose, and its relation to the rest of the SS syllabus. The study also aims to find out and analyse SS teachers' varied experiences of implementing Issue Investigation in their schools/classrooms, with a view towards identifying the characteristics of and possible contributing factors to successful/positive experiences as well as problematic/negative experiences. Through achieving these research objectives, the study ultimately seeks to use its findings to further support Singapore teachers in making more effective use of Issue Investigation as a powerful pedagogy, and to lay the groundwork for more systematic and in-depth research on inquiry-based SS in Singapore. In line with the stated research objectives, a qualitative research approach is proposed. Qualitative data will be collected chiefly through interviews and focus-group discussions (FGD) with SS teachers, Subject Heads, and Heads of Departments in secondary schools in Singapore, supplemented by collection of relevant documentary data and/or artefacts. It is estimated that up to 15 teachers from up to 5 schools will be involved in this study.
Note: Restricted to NIE staff.
Project number: 
SUG 07/18 YPD
Grant ID: 
Education Research Funding Programme (ERFP)
Funding Agency: 
Ministry of Education, Singapore
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