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Research Skills: Research Skills


Guided Inquiry: Learning in the 21st Century by Carol C. Kuhlthau, Leslie K. Maniotes and Ann K. Caspari

Guided Inquiry design framework employs the six principles of constructivist learning throughout each phase of the design framework, which are based on the stages of the Information Search Process (ISP). The shape of the design framework follows the flow of the student's confidence, interest, and learning in the inquiry process and the icons depict the action taken in each phase.

Information Search Process(ISP)

Guided Inquiry Design Process

Guided Inquiry Design Framework

What Students are doing in Information Search Process STAGES of ISP PHASES of 
Initiating the research project INITIATION OPEN
Exploring information EXPLORATION EXPLORE
Formulating a focus FORMULATION IDENTIFY
Collecting information on  focus & seeking meaning COLLECTION GATHER
Preparing to present PRESENTATION CREATE and SHARE
Assessing the process ASSESSMENT EVALUATE

Guided Inquiry Design Process contd.

OpenReview Assignment. Introduction of the general topic to stimulate curiosity and engage inquiry.  Ideas, themes, questions, problems or concepts related to the subject.  (Prewrite)

  • Invitation to Inquiry
  • Open Minds
  • Stimulate curiosity


ImmerseConnect with content and discover interesting ideas to explore further. What seems particularly interesting, curious, surprising or troubling?  Reflect on ideas that matter to you and are worth further investigation. (Prewrite)

  • Build Background Knowledge
  • Connect to content
  • Discover interesting ideas


Explore - Survey a wide variety of sources, read when you find something interesting, explore ideas. Browse and scan a variety of sources and prepare to develop your inquiry questions. (Skim and Scan) (Prewrite)

  • Explore interesting ideas
  • Look around
  • Dip in


Identify - Students are ready to identify a question for their inquiry because of the time spent immersing and exploring in order to build enough background knowledge to ask a meaningful question. Construct an inquiry question from the ideas, pressing problems and emerging themes you have explored in various sources of information. Form a focus and draft a question.

  • Identify inquiry question
  • Pause and ponder
  • Decide Direction


Gather - A question gives direction to collect detailed information from a variety of sources. Locate, evaluate and use information. "Go broad" to find a range of sources that are useful and "dig deep" and choose a core of the most useful sources to read closely as you find connections and gain personal understanding. (Close Reading) (Prewrite)

  • Gather useful information
  • Go broad
  • Go deep


Create - By this stage, you have gathered enough information to construct your own understanding, you are now ready to organize your learning. What is important about the subject? Construct your own understanding, summarize, interpret and extend meaning.  Integrate your own ideas more firmly into deep understanding. (Close Reading) (Write and Revise)

  • Create to communicate
  • Reflect on learning
  • Go Beyond facts - interpret and extend


Share - Students share the product they have created to show what they have learned.(Publish)


  • Learn from each other
  • Share learning
  • Tell your story


Evaluate - This occurs at the end when evaluation of the achievement of your learning goals takes place. Students' reflect on their content learning and progress through the inquiry process. Self-reflection reinforces content learning and establishes good habits for learning how to learn through the inquiry process.

  • Evaluate achievement of learning goal
  • Reflect on content
  • Reflect on process