Inquiry-Based Learning Questions For Research And General Inquiry

by TeachThought Staff

Recently we took a look at the phases of inquiry-based learning through a framework and even apps that were conducive to inquiry-based learning on the iPad.

In the first post, we suggested that inquiry-based learning is an “instructional model that centers learning on solving a particular problem or answering a central question.” We also provided some thinking on the ‘stages’ of inquiry, saying that “inquiry-based learning can vary depending on context but generally include Interacting, Clarifying, Questioning, and Designing.”

What Are The Different Levels Of Inquiry Learning In The Classroom?

In An Inquiry Framework: 5 Levels Of Student Ownership, we also offered five levels of inquiry:

Inquiry Mode: Close-ended Demonstration

Inquiry Mode: Guided Inquiry

Inquiry Mode: Bounded/Restricted Inquiry

Inquiry Mode: Open-ended Inquiry

Inquiry Mode: Collaboration with Researcher

While there’s so much to each of these ideas–each deserving of an article, course, and even short book of their own–let’s get closer to actual inquiry-based learning questions that students can use in the classroom.

Examples Of Inquiry-Based Learning Questions

During our research for that phase’s framework, we stumbled across the following breakdown of the inquiry process for learning on (who offers the references that appear below the graphic). Most helpfully, it offers 20 questions that can guide student research at any stage, including:

What do I want to know about this topic? How do I know I know it? What kinds of resources might help? How do I know the info is valid? Does my research raise new questions? And, in a nod to digital and social media, How do I use media to express my message?

These stages have some overlap with self-directed learning. Hopefully, you’ll find the following graphic–and the embedded stages and questions–helpful in your planning, or to distribute to students as they make sense of what could be a new (for them) approach to learning.


Cross, M. (1996). Teaching Primary Science: empowering children for their world. Melbourne: Longman Australia.

Kuhlthau, C., Maniotes, L., & Caspari, A. (2007). Guided Inquiry: Learning in the 21st Century. London: Libraries Unlimited.