Analysis – theories enacted

This research based learning experience in the Information Learning Nexus unit has opened my eyes to the theory and practice of inquiry learning. Working as a team in the ILA allows us as educators to help our students enter the new learning paradigm as described by Ken Robinson. Gilbert recognises that one defining feature of this change is that of the new and different ways of thinking. This change is can be seen by moving from a point of knowing to a focus on understanding and application of this new learning. Even though inquiry activity contrasts with traditional education methods, information literacy should be a part of inquiry learning because evaluating the quality of information is important in inquiry-based learning and students use”real” questions in their inquiry-based learning. This view is supported by Treadwell who sees the development of inquiry learning as a “core capability in developing lifelong learning capability within the move to the emerging education paradigm” (2008, p.75).

Information Literacy

Information Literacy (IL) is an important process where locating, searching, selecting and organising information is essential. Throughout this ILA reference was made continually to the Model of Information Search Process (Kuhlthau, Maniotes and Caspari, 2007, p.19.) and the stages that we were entering. Although the INITIATION stage was teacher guided there was freedom within the student body to make individual topic SELECTION. The EXPLORATION stage was a strength in this action research. However, recommendations will be made for improvements in the FORMULATION stage. Moving from the COLLECTION to the PRESENTATION stages were also easily achieved. ASSESSMENT was teacher driven and could include self and peer reflection in the future.


Guided Inquiry

The Guided Inquiry process that I utilised was that of the collaborative, team approach described by Kuhlthau, Maniotes and Caspari (2012). After discussing the ILA with class teachers it became evident that we all supported the features of an inquiry learning classroom as outlined by Harada & Yoshina (2004) where features included questioning, negotiating, social interaction, constructivist approaches and problem based learning through out the inquiry process. The table below demonstrates similarities between Harada & Yoshina (2004) and Kuhlthau, Maniotes & Caspari (2007) helping to ensure all involved in this process shared 21st century learning skills.

  • Table 1 - Principles of Guided Inquiry

    Table 1 – Principles of Guided Inquiry


The consideration of the Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) Creative and Critical Thinking F-10 Continuum and the Science Curriculum was utilised in order to connect curriculum with the students world. There is reference to a clear inquiry process in the ACARA documentation and strong similarities to the AASL standards for the 21st century leaner were previously documented. The strong links to meta cognition are documented as a series of four steps;

  • Inquiring – identifying, exploring and organising information and ideas.
  • Generate ideas, possibilities and actions
  • Reflecting on thinking and processes
  • Analysing, synthesising and evaluating reasoonging and procedures

More and more often the ACARA content was covered by the class teachers and I was increasingly responsible for the critical and creative thinking. The table below illustrates comparisons between Kuhlthau’s Information Search Process,  The Information Process (ISP NSW DET Model) and ACARA Creative and Critical Thinking F-10 Continuum.

Table 2 - Comparison between ISP, ISP (NSW) and ACARA

Table 2 – Comparison between ISP, ISP (NSW) and ACARA

The idea of utilising the “third space” as described by Kuhlthau, Maniotes and Caspari (2007) students were taking part in a learning centered world where the content became secondary due to the fact that each group was learning about something they were passionate about. The inquiry skills had a renewed focus. Overall there was a general increase in all areas between questions and this can be attributed to the ISP where students move to the Selection and Explanation stages of Kuhlthau’s ISP Model. The sheer increase in response quantity requiring extra pages and an explanation of the acronym P.T.O (please turn over) demonstrates an increase of higher order thinking. The mandated Science Understandings were easily achieved in this ILA and there was a targeted times where Science Inquiry Skills were taking the main stage.

Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy

BloomsDuring the action research conducted during the ILA consideration of Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy was used. The simplistic remembering layer was not required. Rather students were needing to understand and explain their concepts and apply this new knowledge in order to make analytical connections between the scientific concepts of living and non living and the properties of associated materials and their influences. This culminated in the creation of a variety of works such as speeches, models, experiments (some that failed three times) persuasive brochures adn dramatic plays. All groups generated new ideas or products.

GeST Windows

Information Literacy has been described by Lupton and Bruce (2010) as a Generic, Situated and Transformative (GeST) paradigm. The three windows are seen to have an inclusive relationship where literacy is seen as;

  1. a set of generic skills (behavioural)
  2. situated in social practices (sociocultural)
  3. transformative, for oneself and for society (critical)

These perspectives can be seen to be nested inside each other and in this ILA a variety of windows were achieved by different groups. The students who stayed in the generic window were generally working by themselves and saw their inquiry as finding answers to questions and presented their learning via powerpoint presentations. The skills of finding, locating, selecting and organising information were challenging and further guidance to “examine currency, bias, authority, provenance” (Lupton and Bruce, 2010, p. 12) would have benefited this group. Alternatively revision of how to evaluate internet sources would have been timely. The majority of groups were operating in the situated window using many information search strategies and solving personally selected inquiries in a social setting. This too was problematic as some groups had trouble staying on task and kept going back to the defining stage.

Image retrieved from CLN 650 Week 4 Notes by Mandy Lupton

Image retrieved from CLN 650 Week 4 Notes by Mandy Lupton

It is my personal aim to strive towards the transformative window where the “skills and processes of the Generic window and the authentic social practices and personal meaning” (Lupton and Bruce, 2010, p.13) are coupled together with deeper reflective critical thinking taking into consideration the social influences. One group did make transformational change as their learning led to transformational thinking where the depth of their knowledge specifically on koalas inspired them to publish a brochure to help others understand the issues and seek change. This group inspired the class during the presentation stage to become active environmentalists. The success of this group was seen by the deep convictions held and the opportunity to make a difference in the world.


Best practice can be seen to based on social construction, where learning occurs through interaction. The teachers were learning about guided inquiry and the students were engaged and motivated throughout this ILA. The Six Principles of Guided Inquiry all share these aspects and when coupled with higher order thinking skills such as Habits of Mind make for transformational learning opportunities. “Guided Inquiry is based on the premise that deep, lasting learning is a process of construction that requires students’ engagement and reflection” (Kuhlthau, Maniotes and Caspari, 2007, p. 25). Together with ACARA standards and competencies, questioning models and information search processes the inquiry process with will give learners the essential tools required to emerge from our schools with the capacity to be independent lifelong learners, empowered to question and solve problems and issues creatively.


Harada, Violet and Yoshina, Joan. (2004). Chapter 1 : Identifying the inquiry-based school in Harada, Violet and Yoshina, Joan, Inquiry learning through librarian-teacher partnerships, Worthington, Ohio: Linworth Publishing

Kuhlthau, Carol C. ; Maniotes, Leslie K. & Caspari, Ann K. (2007) Guided inquiry : learning in the 21st century, Westport, Conn: Libraries Unlimited.

Kuhlthau, C.C., Maniotes, L. K. & Caspari, A.K. (2012). Chapter 1: Guided Inquiry Design: The Process, the Learning, and the Team. In Kuhlthau, C. C. ; Maniotes, L. K. & Caspari, A.K. Guided inquiry design : a framework for inquiry in your school. Santa Barbara: Libraries Unlimited.

Treadwell, M. (2008). The Conceptual Age and the Revolution School v2.0. Hawker Brownlow Education. Heatherton.

Lupton, M., & Bruce, C. (2010). Chapter 1 : windows on information literacy worlds : generic, situated and transformative perspectives, in Lloyd, A., & Talja, S., Practicing information literacy: bringing theories of learning, practice, and information literacy together. Wagga Wagga: Centre for Information Studies, 3-37.


Application of information-learning theories…it’s all about me!

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”
Mahatma Gandhi

On a bright sunny Sunday afternoon the light globe switched on in my mind…it was finally making sense! Information Learning Nexus was finally something to celebrate. I knew that I was learning about the learning and in my opinion any new learning is challenging. As Gandhi says, we are to learn and learn and then learn some more and after suffering a cold thought I too would die with all of this new learning! Inquiry learning to me was about asking questions and finding answers and this unit has enabled me to see just how powerful this framework can be. Kuhlthau states that “Inquiry is the foundation of the information age school” (2010, p. 2) and describes Guided Inquiry to be a collaborative team approach that enables students to “meet the challenges of an uncertain, changing world” (2010, p.3). This inquiry approach has enabled me to learn; information literacy, how I learn, the course content, improve literacy and even my social skills via Facebook.

Kuhlthau’s Model of the Information Search Process (ISP) includes the following seven phases that are commonly experienced by the learner. Kuhlthau, Maniotes & Caspari state that “learning begins with uncertainty and is driven by the desire to seek meaning” (2007, p. 17). Learning is complex and this ISP recognises feelings, thoughts and actions in which I will reflect upon. Other models have been investigated and similarities can be found between Brunner’s Inquiry Process, the Department of New South Wales ISP and The 8 Ws: Information Literacy as seen below.

The stages of these other models will be referred to at the end of  Kuhlthau’s Model of the Information Search Process (ISP) reflections.

Stage 1 – Initiation

At the very beginning of this unit my thoughts were fixated upon the spelling of inquiry versus enquiry. I know now that my sleepless nights and anxious mind was just the expected “uncertainty” that is a part of this stage in the ISP. Blogging was challenging and saw me pull out my notes from 2010 where I was first exposed to WordPress, but so much had changed – rather – so much was not really understood back then. The initial thoughts about this unit were broad and encompassed vocabulary such as the following acrynoms that were all new to me; IL, IL, ILA, ISP, KWL, KWHLAQ, GeST. I read as much as I could before the unit began but needed support in order to go forward. The weekly online collaborate sessions would give me just that! Looking back over my Week 1 to do list I can see that I was living in the dark, unfortunately there were nine things to follow up on in just that one session. I was “feeling depressed and bogged down and overwhelmed at the amount of work ahead” (Kuhlthau, Maniotes & Caspari, 2007, p. 18).

Brunner’s Inquiry Process – Pose Real Questions

N.S.W. Department of Education I.S.P. – Defining

The 8Ws: Information Literacy – Watching and Wondering

Stage 2 – Selection

Feeling like a mushroom, I thought I was missing something. I was doing all of the readings and I was attending the online collaborate sessions but in my state of confusion I was disabled. The to do lists were growing but my ability to stay on top was zero. There were so many other things to select from and school events such as Science Week and Book Week took priority and prevented me from focusing on this topic or my ILA. This lasted for three weeks for me personally. Faced with a new topic, new concepts, new terminology, new lecturer, new work format (blogs) and new web 2 tools that were to be integrated the question of where to start was real and the uncertainty seemed to grow. After finally selecting a middle primary class to make links with, my focus changed and I felt I was getting on top of things and felt my optimism rising only to discover just how much work there was now to do.

Brunner’s Inquiry Process – Find Resources

N.S.W. Department of Education I.S.P. – Locating

The 8Ws: Information Literacy – Webbing

Stage 3 – Exploration

The exploration stage was difficult for me as my time was poor. I felt that there was so much out there to research and that narrowing it down was too hard. Often my search strings gave millions of hits and then using that same search string in another data base I would get nothing. Confused by what would and would not work soon became a frustration. This is demonstrated in my initial use of the A+ Education data base where the search string used in Google Scholar found zero results. I was “working through my own ideas and constructing new knowledge ” (ibid., 2007, p.18) and it seemed that I was now in the middle of the mushroom wondering which line of inquiry to select.

Brunner’s Inquiry Process – Find Resources

N.S.W. Department of Education I.S.P. – Locating

The 8Ws: Information Literacy – Webbing

Stage 4 – Formulation

This stage occurred while writing the Annotated Bibliography for this blog. I was so focused on my readings and summarising the main ideas and arguments that the light was not able to shine. After evaluating so many articles for their objectivity, reliability and bias I found myself using Kathy Schrock’s Five W’s of Web Site Evaluation and the CARS model when evaluating information. Thinking this is exactly what my middle school students need for my ILA I too felt I had a renewed sense of direction. When I had finished synthesising my ideas the light came on, there was renewed clarity. I was researching information on Guided Inquiry using the Guided Inquiry process. How clever!

Brunner’s Inquiry Process -Interpret Information

N.S.W. Department of Education I.S.P. – Selecting

The 8Ws: Information Literacy – Wiggling and Weaving

Stage 5 – Collection

Feeling some what relieved that the Annotated Bibliography was complete I was ready to collate my findings and write the essay. Again the complex nature of learning with the world at our fingertips was evident. I was able to break my information into three areas in order to explain the information search process that I undertook. I was suddenly writing about questioning frameworks, the search process and the ability to reflect upon the learning in a collaborative and supported environment. There was renewed confidence in myself, I knew the topic. This transpired into allocating precious time to dedicate on this blog. This increased my sense of ownership and the blog began to grow both in content and readership (albeit family and friends) I felt I was “developing expertise”(ibid., 2007, p.20) and wanted to share this in my ILA at school.

Brunner’s Inquiry Process -Interpret Information

N.S.W. Department of Education I.S.P. -Organising

The 8Ws: Information Literacy – Wrapping

Stage 6 – Presentation

This is where I find myself right now – in the Presentation Stage. I am at the end of the Guided Inquiry ISP and am now ready to share my ideas with others. The feedback from my peers has been meaningful and seeing the blogs of others grow has been both elating and deflating. As I work full time and study part time there is a part of me that is disappointed in what I have not achieved after seeing some excellent online work. This is again articulated by Kuhlthau (2007) when she describes the aspect of reflection and self assessment. My peer reviews coupled with my own desire to improve saw me edit some posts in order to better present my inquiry findings. This leads me to the success or failure image and takes me to the last stage of the Information Search Process.

Brunner’s Inquiry Process -Report Findings

N.S.W. Department of Education I.S.P. -Presenting

The 8Ws: Information Literacy – Waving

Stage 7 – Assessment

This learning process is complex and very personal and all educators know the importance of assessment. I feel that what I now know about Guided Inquiry will benefit me in my teaching. As a inquiry learning  facilitator I will be able to help others become life long independent learners. There is a “sense of accomplishment” (ibid., 2007, p.19) in seeing my work online, published to the world but with this comes an increased critical awareness where credibility, accuracy, reasonableness and support can be questioned. This Inquiry learning process has enabled far greater engagement in an authentic real world context. Success or failure is not important rather that I have been engaged in higher-order thinking processes and have been empowered to translate this into my ILA where my students and I will be transformed.

Brunner’s Inquiry Process -Report Findings

N.S.W. Department of Education I.S.P. -Assessing

The 8Ws: Information Literacy – Wishing

Table 1 - Comparison of ISP Stages

Table 1 – Comparison of ISP Stages

This table demonstrates the similar Information Search Process stages based on Kuhlthau’s Model of the Information Search Process (ISP) and have been compared with Brunner’s Inquiry Process, the Department of New South Wales ISP and The 8 Ws: Information Literacy process. There are many similarities across the processes. They are all cyclic in nature, strong in questioning and all have an aspect of assessment or reporting included. The Brunner Inquiry Process has classroom display appeal and would make an excellent visual reminder in any classroom. It seems to suit primary levels as it has a simple four level approach with simple questioning embedded into each stage of the inquiry process but lacks consideration of feelings, thoughts and actions that Kuhlthau’s model includes. The Department of New South Wales ISP also gives clear steps in the process and includes questions to support this inquiry. Consideration of the information skills used makes this model a preferred model for my middle primary students. This model focuses on quality teaching and would support formative assessment which complements cyclic learning processes. As much as I like the alliteration of the 8 Ws: Information Literacy process the renaming of the verbs to a “w” word seems counter productive and could suit junior secondary students. The roles suggested for students, teachers and technology make this a similarity between the N.S.W. model and something to consider in the ILA. Overall these models list valuable verbs and processes that will be utilised in the information search process.


Kuhlthau, Carol. (2010). Guided inquiry : school libraries in the 21st century School Libraries Worldwide, 16 (1), 1-12.

Kuhlthau, Carol C. ; Maniotes, Leslie K. & Caspari, Ann K. (2007). Chapter 2: The Theory and Research Basis for Guided Inquiry in Kuhlthau, Carol C. ; Maniotes, Leslie K. & Caspari, Ann K, Guided inquiry : learning in the 21st century, Westport, Conn: Libraries Unlimited.

Kuhlthau, C.; Maniotes, L. and Caspari, A, (2012). Chapter 1 : Guided Inquiry Design: The Process, the Learning, and the Team. In Kuhlthau, C.; Maniotes, L. and Caspari, A, Guided inquiry design : a framework for inquiry in your school, (pp.1 – 15). Santa Barbara: Libraries Unlimited.

Information Anlysis – what does this mean?

Critical analysis and evaluation occur concurrently when researching. It is vital to be critically literate in this time of information overload offered to us via the world wide web. Being able to apply this essential literacy competency empowers learners to not only interpret the text and make meaning, but  to become confident, connected, actively involved, lifelong learners who are capable of reaching their God given potential. The expert search strategies employed a variety of approaches in order to source relevant information that has been cited in my annotated bibliography. These expert search strategies share common terminology and related terms as they were associated to my inquiry. One vital learning disposition is the use of critical information skills. In order to evaluate the diverse nature of sources located I decided to utilise the CARS Checklist (Credibility, Accuracy Reasonableness and Support) to ensure information quality.

The CARS Checklist has been a very useful tool for me to use and the availability of posters in PDF form will be even more useful for point of intervention use in the classroom. However as my ILA is focusing on middle primary I will also consider Kathy Schrock’s checklist – The 5 W’s of Web Site Evaluation.

Information Analysis identifies where articles, books, abstracts and readings were obtained from and how I was able to critically analyse and evaluate the information within them.






Stephenson(Google) Author links to current twitter account Quote on website 2007 with blog last updated in February 2012 Passionate about Inquiry Learning and links with Galileo Network and 8 Inquiry Principles No sources listed
FitzGerald(Google and Google Scholar) Sponsored by SLAQ and IASL and even more credible due to being Head TL at Loreto Sydney Information published in 2011 and copy written by authors Purpose for article is to report on impact of Guided Inquiry and the how the SLIM toolkit was used Sources are highly relevant leaders of GI (CISSL, Kuhlthau and Todd)
Colburn(Google Scholar) No information about the author 2000 and a professor 13 years ago Practical and truthful narrative of difficulties behind GI 5 other professional links are available but dated 1964-1996
Wolf(Google Scholar via QUT via Informit) Author is a respected by Australasian Science Education Research Association Published in 2008 and is copy written in 2007 Seems to read reasonably well but is verbose and discusses gender and equity Over 40 references made well researched
Green(A+ Education) Clear author biography and whole abstract are listed Published in 2012 and discusses current inquiry trends in IB Author has a bias toward the IB program and the Middle Years Program model of inquiry 4 current sources from 2005-2008
McLean(A+ Education) Professional links with SCAN as a TL gives credibility Published in SCAN in 2011 Author supports Kuhlthau’s ISP model giving this added reasonableness 29 sources listed with many
Purnell & Harrison
(A= Education)
Published by Geographic Education giving authority to inquiry in this area of the Curriculum Published in 2011 in its complete entirety and has been copy written Purpose is to lift critical inquiry in Geography and Science using a backward map design CQ University Australia with 21 sources and current experts are listed
Sheerman(A+ Education) Professional links with SCAN as a Head of Information Services  gives credibility Published in SCAN in 2011 available as a complete article on this data base Author supports action research cycle and the use of ISP and SLIM in this article giving a truthful explanation of the action research 18 sources are listed with reference to FitzGerald, Hay & Todd, Todd and Kuhlthau
Hunsburger(ProQuest) University of Toronto with full abstract and doctorate Published in 2008 and is a complete document of 256 pages Truthful recount of teaching experience but unreasonable to consider due to the size Many sources are listed as to be expected in a doctorate
Kuhlthau & Maniotes(ProQuest) Professional links with School Library Monthly make this resource credible as does their names Complete article published in 2010 Truthful explanation of GI process and the role of the ISP make outstanding connections for educational purposes 3 references cited are all Kuhlthau connected
Pellegrino(ProQuest) Abstract only Published in 2008 Review of Kuhlthau’s book No sources are made
Rusche & Jason(ProQuest) Associated with American Sociologists has clear contact details and full abstract Published in 2011 Is a truthful recount of inquiry process and importance of questioning Appendix of 47 sources but none are known but sources can be located when checked