Dewey was a major representative of progressive education and a most signifi cant American philosopher. In comparison with a tradition in which practice was to be subordinate to theoretical abstract and formal knowledge, Dewey legitimized the idea that knowledge is always ‘knowledge in use’ and that science is the ‘pragmatic technology’ to transform practice. He rebalanced the relationships between theory and practice combining a historical-philosophical approach (dialectical process) with a learning theory (experiential learning). The educational research experience presented in this article was solicited by Dewey studies and took place in cooperation with the organization ‘Confartigianato Imprese Arezzo.’ Against this backdrop the paper aims to describe how Dewey’s theory of inquiry could be useful to reframe methodological empirical research.