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.


Results from the ILA

The Results, the outcomes and my interpretation…

At the beginning of the Information Learning Activity (ILA) the students were asked to select a material to study and research the living and non living components of it. Using the School Library Impact Measure –SLIM Toolkit (Todd, Kuhlthau & Heinstrom, 2005) as measurement tool I was able to assess and track the guided inquiry process in great detail. I conducted two data collection surveys using the questionnaires were and making a change to the suggested time frame. The outcomes of this unit was tied into the ACARA  Science Curriculum. For ease of interpretation results  for questions 1, 2 and 3 in SURVEY 1 will be green and all SURVEY 2 results will be coloured in red.

Question 1 – What do you know about your topic?

In these surveys students were asked to think about what they were learning about in order to focus their thoughts and to then write down what they knew about the topic. The student responses were analysed individually and responses to question 1 from both surveys was categorised into fact, explanation and conclusion statements as can be seen below in table 1.

Table 1 - Question 1 Survey Results

Table 1 – Question 1 Survey Results

This figure clearly demonstrates an increase in all three areas. However, one difficulty when scoring facts in question 1 was that some of the students were defining the general topic of living and non living things, rather than writing verb statements to describe “what a concept is or how it is performed” (Todd, Kuhlthau & Heinstrom, 2005, p. 7). Whilst recording results for Questionnaire 1 I noticed there was only one explanation and no conclusions made. I was worried that I had not explained the questionnaire correctly or that the students didn’t understand me. Some students wrote “we don’t know” even after the initial topic launch that was conducted voiding their responses. In the image below you will see the response from Student 6 who I decided to track more closely.

Own Image - student response

Own Image – student response

For the purposes of this data analysis, Students 1 to 6 were tracked individually. The various educational, social and emotional needs of these students varies greatly and will be seen in the detailed analysis. Student 1 made one very deep explanation in Questionnaire 1 and as this student is involved in the gifted and talented program I wondered if this would make a difference to the overall outcomes of this survey. Looking at the individuals inspired me to consider the total change in learning. To look at total change in learning I added up all fact, explanation and conclusion statements from Survey 2 and subtracted the total from Survey 1. This gave me a score that was averaged into the two groups of students. Again student 1 ranked the highest across the cohort and is a confident and optimistic person. However, interestingly the scores did not match preconceived learning needs and styles of others.

Table 2 - Question 1 Ranking Sum

Table 2 – Question 1 Ranking Sum

Overall there is a general increase in all areas between questions but interestingly the greatest improvement was seen in an increased factual knowledge demonstrated in Table 3.

Table 3 - Factual Knowledge Comparison

Table 3 – Factual Knowledge Comparison

Question 2 – How interested are you in the topic?

The SLIM Toolkit questionnaire asks students to consider how interested they are in their topic and below in table 4 you can clearly see the increased student interest between survey 1 and 3.

Table 4 - Comparison of interest displayed

Table 4 – Comparison of interest displayed

The pie graphs below enable you to see clearly the changes between each survey and then finally a comparison of grouped individual interest levels based upon changes. The grey pie graph despite demonstrating a 14% decline is representative of only 3 students.

Table 5 - Questionnaire 1 Data - Interest in Topic

Table 5 – Questionnaire 1 Data – Interest in Topic

Table 6 - Questionnaire 3 Data - Interest in Topic

Table 6 – Questionnaire 3 Data – Interest in Topic

Table 7 - Changes in topic interest

Table 7 – Changes in topic interest

Question 3 – How much do you know about the topic?

This question displays student self awareness of topic knowledge. Table 8 depicts the quantitative data of student estimated knowledge on the topic. When surveyed at the end of the ILA some students wanted to make a fifth box entitled “everything”. This question was seen as formative assessment and helped me to prioritise who to track more closely and support. Overall despite the graph showing an increase in knowledge there were six students who scored the same in both surveys.

Table 8 - Demonstrates Knowledge of the Topic

Table 8 – Demonstrates Knowledge of the Topic

Question 4 – What did you find easiest to do?

Due to the age of these students results in this are were less than I expected possibly due to their age and ability to answer these questions cognitively. However the themes of information searching and usage of the internet were common across this research project. Students commonly responded to these questions in dot point and in similar ways as seen in this image. However, there were 6 questionnaires that were unable to be included due to absence during the survey 2 data collection phase. That being the case results could have been significantly higher.

Question 5 - Own image

Question 5 – Own image

The results in table 9 depict the collated student perceptions of the information search process and were broken into six common themes as seen below:

Table 9 - What did you find easy to do?

Table 9 – What did you find easy to do?

Question 5 – What did you find difficult to do?

The common themes of surrounding the information search process continued to be mentioned in the surveys. However, as can be seen in table 10 there were some significant changes that can be contributed to formative assessment strategies and discussion of this can be seen in the analysis. Again, there were four questionnaires that have been omitted in this survey due to absence and their common area of difficulty was in the area of internet usage and the strategy enlisted to elicit answers from Google. This table does not demonstrate the difficulty some groups had on staying on task. There were two particular groups whose topics changed in each session making information selection difficult due to the changing topic questions. The inclusion of work environment will be addressed in the analysis.

This pie graph does not reflect three students decline in interest levels but when looking at the raw data it was interesting to see the answers in question 5 and 6. Student 19 was not interested at all and found “nuthing (sic) hard to do” (SLIM Questionnaire 3) and interestingly stated it was because they “knew efreing (sic)” (SLIM Questionnaire 3). This student’s topic area was a common material that most Victorians study in depth and with parents who find and make holiday links to learning had selected something comfortable.

Table 10 - What did you find difficult to do?

Table 10 – What did you find difficult to do?

Question 6 – What did you learn in doing this research project? (Questionnaire 3 Survey 2)

Survey 2 used The SLIM Toolkit Questionnaire 3 and consisted of two additional questions to be answered. This second survey was conducted in a rush at terms end and enabled me to collect 25 responses. However, two students omitted this question. This question was designed to “generate a student-based summary of their learning” (Todd, p.17) and data collected did not enable me to analyse information seeking strategies rather then main self perceived learning. Answers to this question were brief and tended to fall into the following three categories.

Table 11 - Common Themes and Student Examples

Table 11 – Common Themes and Student Examples

Table 12 below depicts a clear ring with percentages, again the strength in factual information based on the evidence above can be seen.

Table 12 - What did you learn in doing this research project?

Table 12 – What did you learn in doing this research project?

Question 7 – How do you feel about your research?

The ILA ended with a particularly high sense of achievement where the presentation of findings was a whole class celebration. There was a wide variety of materials and an even broader assortment of presentation structures ranging from models, power point presentations, role plays, television news reports, brochures and experiments. When adding the confident and happy responses together there is an overwhelmingly high percentage of 95% of students who are able to demonstrate their new knowledge with passion and assurance. There was one confused student who consistently selected broad questions, displayed and reported ongoing difficulty using the internet who could have benefited from tracking.

Table 13 - How do you feel about your research?

Table 13 – How do you feel about your research?

Outcomes and Interpretations

As seen in the gallery below students were able to “share the product they have created to show what they have learned with the other students in their inquiry community” (Kulthau, Maniotes & Caspari, 2012, p. 5). A clear ability to distinguish between living and nonliving things was achieved. Students were able to confidently report upon their selected materials describing a range of uses and their specific properties.This ILA was considered successful as we were able to achieve numerous ACARA content descriptors and the inquiry skills consisting of questioning, predicting and communication. Wilson accurately states that “assessment data should be used for planning and to ensure that students are actively involved in all aspects of the learning process” (2013, p. 72) and all teachers were part of the process making the learning journey a success.


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.

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

Todd, R., Kuhlthau, C.C. & Heinstrom, J.E. (2005). School Library Impact Measure. A Toolkit and Handbook for Tracking and Assessing Student Learning Outcomes of Guided Inquiry Through The School Library. Center for International Scholarship in School Libraries, Rutgers University. Retrieved August 6th, 2013 from

Wilson, J. (2013). Activate Inquiry: The what ifs and the why nots. Education Services Australia, Carlton South.

An Essay – a synthesis of the annotated bibliography – the light has been turned on!

The investigation of inquiry based learning was a journey of questioning and has led me use and improve my information searching processes. This search process has demonstrated the complex nature of learning. The nature of inquiry is to question, find answers and then reflect upon that new learning. In this synthesis we see inquiry learning as pedagogy where “any conscious activity by one person designed to enhance learning” (Watkins & Mortimore, 1999, p. 3) will powerfully transform the way deep lifelong learning occurs. Kuhlthau, Maniotes & Caspari recognise learning as a “holistic experience” (2007, p. 27) where there is an opportunity for teachers to differentiate and use multiple intelligences in the process. The sources referred to in the annotated bibliography support the view that an information investigation is a process.  This method involves questioning, information searching and the ability to reflect upon the process. It is a complex method that requires targeted point of intervention support. There are a variety of inquiry models to consider but all seem to have three things in common; questioning, searching and are cyclic in nature.

Guided inquiry models that I have investigated all hold questioning “at the centre of the learning experience” (Harada & Yoshin, 2004, p. 2). The recognition of effective, strong questioning was articulated by Rusche & Jason and reference made to the utilisation of questions “as a sounding board to express an original idea or undeveloped analysis” (2011, p. 340). Brunner’s Inquiry Process begins in the same way where students pose real questions. Importantly “student questions are the building block of engagement” (Rusche & Jason, 2011, p. 340) and provide educators with insight into student learning. Purnell and Harrison (2011) recognise that inquiry begins with questioning but that it is reliant upon the effective use of the process in order to develop student knowledge and skills. Green (2012) reinforces this and refers to the use of personal and authentic questions and the importance of collaborative inquiry where the teacher and student work freely.

The Information Search Process (ISP) is interwoven by nature and requires “guidance, instruction, modelling and coaching” (Kuhlthau & Maniotes, 2010, p. 18). This is supported by Green (2012) who identifies that inquiry also needs to be collaborative and guided in order to be successful. Sheermann (2011) maintains this and presents findings that demonstrate the learning gains from a collaborative project where the teacher and librarian shared similar goals. FitzGerald (2011) and Shannon (2002) refer to the Kuhlthau Model of the ISP.  FitzGerald (2011) provided detailed descriptions of how students were feeling during the process and makes reference to prior knowledge for formative assessment. Shannon (2002) shared about the inclusion of a constructivist approach where feelings influence the development of learning and that there are stages, intervention zones and mediation levels. The idea that inquiry learning is a cycle is strongly conveyed in these studies.

The readings refer to the inquiry process as a learning cycle and share common ideas of inquiry strategies and the need for teacher support. Green importantly recognises that “inquiry learning is a core responsibility for all teacher librarians. It is often the most challenging part of the role, requiring many skills including intuition, insight, collaboration, flexibility and, at times, enormous amounts of persistence” (2012, p. 19). The recognition of the Middle Years Program model of inquiry adds credence to this due to its “fluid, differentiated and non-hierarchical structure” (Green, 2012, p. 20) where students are able to freely move between awareness and understanding and move to reflection and then action. This is supported by Colburn (2000) who also sees learning as cyclic. Pernell and Harrison (2011) share the same cyclic idea but take this one step further by having a backward design process.

Guided Inquiry learning enables teachers to work collaboratively. There has never been a more important time in education where the complex process of questioning and searching can be targeted successfully through scaffolding and guidance. With a Guided Inquiry model quality learning experiences are achievable because of the targeted point of intervention, giving support for all involved. Students have ownership to produce new learning through authentic situations and teachers gain confidence to be innovators of change. FitzGerald states that “the Information Search Process lies at the heart of Guided Inquiry” (2011, p. 1). This process is essential for developing independent lifelong learners, people who are ready and able to use their creative skills when solving problems and issues. Where everyone involved can make the most of every opportunity presented to them in their life, becoming learners who have the potential to develop innovative new ideas in the future.


Colburn, A. (2000). “An inquiry primer”. Science scope (Washington, D.C.) , 23 (6), p. 42.

FitzGerald, L. (2011). The twin purposes of Guided Inquiry: guiding student inquiry and evidence based practice. Retrieved from:

Green, G. (2012). Inquiry and learning : what can IB show us about inquiry? [online]. Access; v.26 n.2 p.19-21; June 2012.

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, pp.1-10.

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, pp.13-28.

Purnell, Ken and Harrison, Allan.(2011). Inquiry in geography and science : can it work? [online]. Geographical Education; v.24 p.34-40; 2011.

Rusche, S. N., & Jason, K. (2011). “You have to absorb yourself in it”: Using inquiry and reflection to promote student learning and self-knowledge. Teaching Sociology, 39(4), 338-353.

Sheerman, Alinda. (2011). Accepting the challenge : evidence based practice at Broughton Anglican College. [online]. Scan; v.30 n.2 p.24-33; May 2011. Watkins, C., & Mortimore, P. (1999). Pedagogy: What do we know? In P. Mortimore (Ed.), Understanding pedagogy and its impact on learning. London: Paul Chapman Publishing.

Shannon, D. (2002). Kuhlthau’s information search process. School Library Media Activites Monthly, 19(2), 19-23.

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

Are you an A+ Educator?


“What we find changes who we become.”
Peter Morville

Past searches such as Google were known data bases where I was able to successfully, easily and quickly find a vast array of information. In a way, you were immersed in a wide variety of information and needed to sift through and explore, which was overwhelming for me personally. Using the A+ Education data base was something new. I found myself exploring different search terms and found the thesaurus feature useful in helping me refine the relevant search terms.The use of the thesauri tab in A+ Education enabled me to think of synonyms for science. This led to recognition of some more curriculum based terminology for my expert searches.

As Kuhlthau reminds me “research matters.” This mind map is reminiscent of the deeper thinking about Guided Inquiry. I have been trying to identify and decide which direction to take when reading, sifting and sorting articles found when conducting these expert searches. Some other related terms that could have been considered are problem-based learning, research-based practice and synonyms such as curious minds.

Figure 1: The Mind Mess Map

Figure 1: The Mind Mess Map

Kuhlthau writes about the Guided Inquiry Process and uses the image below to help explain the phases. I find myself in the explore stage ready to move into the identify stage of the Guided Inquiry Process. The need to redefine and question my searches and reasoning in order to “go deep” and as Kuhlthau states “choose the most useful sources to read closely as they find connections and gain personal understanding” (2012, p. 4) has been achieved through using A+ Education.

Figure 2: The Guided Inquiry Process

Figure 2: The Guided Inquiry Process

The Expert Search

As can be seen in the table below the use of previously used search strings and Boolean operators was in some cases unsuccessful. In reflection it is important to know and understand the nuancesof each database. This is an important learning moment as this added additional frustration to me during this time of exploring and is one reason as to why I spent so much time in this one phase.

Figure 3: Expert Search using A+ Education Database

Figure 3: Expert Search using A+ Education Database

The following four articles will be used in the Annotated Bibliography due to the connections they made with the inquiry process and curriculum subject areas. Articles that have references to known Guided Inquiry researchers such as Dr Ross Todd held greater value than others, hence their inclusion. The Five W’s of web site evaluation and aspects of the CARS model were being used concurrently when scanning and sorting the information during this phase. Dr Ross Todd gave credibility due to his reputation. The date of publication was also important as it demonstrated up to date and current information. Due to this database being used by a tertiary institution, it made me feel that there was a higher level of accuracy, I felt supported by QUT, making me think these sources were more objective than those found via Google.

Green, Gary. Inquiry and learning : what can IB show us about inquiry? [online]. Access; v.26 n.2 p.19-21; June 2012. Availability: <;dn=193381;res=AEIPT&gt; ISSN: 1030-0155. [cited 28 Aug 13].

McLean, Ian. Taking the plunge : guided inquiry, persuasion and the research river at Penrith Public School. [online]. Scan; v.30 n.4 p.26-35; November 2011. Availability: <;dn=189318;res=AEIPT&gt; ISSN: 0726-4127. [cited 28 Aug 13].

Purnell, Ken and Harrison, Allan. Inquiry in geography and science : can it work? [online]. Geographical Education; v.24 p.34-40; 2011. Availability: <;dn=191137;res=AEIPT&gt; ISSN: 0085-0969. [cited 28 Aug 13].

Sheerman, Alinda. Accepting the challenge : evidence based practice at Broughton Anglican College. [online]. Scan; v.30 n.2 p.24-33; May 2011. Availability: <;dn=189075;res=AEIPT&gt; ISSN: 0726-4127. [cited 28 Aug 13].


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.

Play on ProQuest like a pro!


If we knew what it was we were doing, it would not be called research, would it?

Albert Einstein


ProQuest was another new data base that this unit has given me cause to access and learn more about. Einstein’s quote above so rightfully articulated my feelings about all of this searching. The more I have learned about Boolean operators, subject searching and using the advanced options the more I have been able to find relevant materials that I can incorporate into my annotated bibliography. This data base seemed different to the others I had used and I found my searches to become increasingly well refined and more relevant. I registered myself with a research account and have found this to be invaluable as it can save search strings, articles and then turn all of this into a detailed citation list.

The search strings seen in my YouTube clip included Boolean operators such as AND, OR and NOT, the utilisation of my personal account, accessing articles via other sources, parenthesis and truncation. Below are the screen shots of initial searches on ProQuest. In figure one you cans see the initial search string was also used in past expert searches. However in figure two the search was improved and better refined due to the use of a subject search.

ProQuest Search 1

Figure 1 – ProQuest Search 1

ProQuest Search 2

Figure 2 – ProQuest Search 2

The search stings used in this analysis were from basic and advanced searches and the whole analysis can be located in this Pro Quest Search String document. Or seen in the table below.

Figure 1: ProQuest Search Strings

Figure 1: ProQuest Search Strings

Search String



(primary OR elementary) science (“inquiry learning” OR “guided inquiry”) 4808Tags: Guided inquiry, primary and science all strong This search was a good start but the articles were mainly American dissertations and theses with the Kuhlthau text in first location. This use of subject term first might need to be put at the end to signify the difference in strength. I had learnt from previous searches that the use of quotation marks would keep phrases together and parenthesis keep the like terms grouped also.
(primary OR elementary) science (“inquiry learning” OR “inquiry based learning OR “guided inquiry”) 3609Tags: elementary, inquiry and science all strong This search enabled me to put the emphasis upon inquiry but was still too broad in the area of sciences where sociology was still being referred to. The American links were still predominant. I need to think carefully on where the science string is located.
(guided inquiry) AND (information search process OR inquiry learning) AND (science* OR primary science) 784Tags: learning, guided inquiry, science, inquiry process, primary, information This search was too big as I had not used quotation marks and had 171892Hits. This unfortunately accounts for the huge number of hits. The use of truncation again enabled the sciences area to be increased where sciences would be included.

Doing the same search with the red changes refined the search to 784 articles where there was a marked increase in credibility, timeliness and scholarly materials.

su(primary OR elementary) science su(“inquiry learning” OR “inquiry based learning OR “guided inquiry”) 4Tags: learning, guided inquiry, science, primary This subject search really refined the process and has enabled me to find 2 more very relevant sources based on their tags. However, after more searching the Chen article is not accessible. The Inquiry Learning article is 254 pages long and due to time will not be something I pursue.  Another is about bilingual students – not my subject. This was perhaps too specific and subject specific in hindsight.
(“guided inquiry” OR “information search process”) AND (science OR primary science) 3587Tags: guided inquiry, science, primary, ISP This was a good broad search with many tags to the search terms in connected phrasing due to the use of quotation marks and parenthesis. The links to the ISP are very strong in this search and the top 15 all list this as a part of the article. All are scholarly in type and available as PDF files. 
(Guided Inquiry) OR (inquiry learning OR information search process) AND sciences NOT (physics OR chemistry) 9Tags:

guided inquiry, science, learning,

This search string was formulated via the advanced search options and was a useful search as many articles were already saved to my research list on ProQuest.

Feeling ever so much more the researcher I know I still have a lot to learn but the reality is learning is a life time journey and one I am proud to say I will persevere with as I am a persistent and patient person. I feel like I played on ProQuest like a pro and will continue to refine my searching skills my whole life through – especially as technology moves ahead in leaps and bounds.