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Going Beyond the “Whoa! That’s Cool!” of Inquiry: Achieving Science Interest and Learning with the ICAN Intervention

Motivational Interventions

ISBN: 978-1-78350-555-5

ISSN: 0749-7423

Publication date: 14 November 2014



The ICAN Intervention as adapted provides a solution to questions raised about whether inquiry-based instruction can promote learning. Our findings indicate that it can. Our findings also demonstrate that when undertaken in a concept and idea-rich environment, the structure of a motivation-based intervention is open-ended enough that all participants will progress, continuing to develop their interest and their learning of disciplinary content.




The authors want to specifically acknowledge discussions about the development of the ICAN Intervention with Mary D. Ainley, Whitney Nekoba Argaki, Suzanne Hidi, and the instructors of the science workshops, Pat Cronin, Stacey Dougherty, Kathleen Howard, Ginger Indivero, Jocelyn Noveral, Carl Grossman, Suzanne Hidi, and Elizabeth Vallen; these were very helpful. We thank Sara K. E. Posey and Alicia Niwagaba for their contributions as research assistants on the earlier studies described here. The authors are also appreciative of comments from Stuart A. Karabenick and Timothy C. Urdan, and Melissa Running’s editorial support. Finally, the authors are grateful for the research support we have received from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute grants to Swarthmore College and the Swarthmore College Faculty Research Fund.


Ann Renninger, K., Austin, L., Bachrach, J.E., Chau, A., Emmerson, M.S., King, B.R., Riley, K.R. and Stevens, S.J. (2014), "Going Beyond the “Whoa! That’s Cool!” of Inquiry: Achieving Science Interest and Learning with the ICAN Intervention", Motivational Interventions (Advances in Motivation and Achievement, Vol. 18), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 107-138.



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