THE ART OF INQUIRY

This has been excerpted from Teaching the Art of Inquiry, Hudspith, B., Jenkins, H.
(2000). A copy of the full report is available in the Society Resource Room.


I. What is Inquiry


Inquiry is a search for understanding through a process of asking questions and seeking
answers through research. Inquiry is a question-driven search for understanding.

      • Kinds (or objects) of understanding:
          • understanding a phenomenon (identifying causes, factors, effects)
          • understanding a presumed relationship or claim (testing the validity of a claim
          • understanding a controversy (identifying the main issues)
          • understanding a theory or concept (clarifying and testing)
          • understanding a process (finding out how something works)

         

      • Kinds (or objects) of understanding:
          • understanding a phenomenon (identifying causes, factors, effects)
          • understanding a presumed relationship or claim (testing the validity of a claim
          • understanding a controversy (identifying the main issues)
          • understanding a theory or concept (clarifying and testing)
          • understanding a process (finding out how something works)


      II. What Inquiry is Not


      From our experience, many student papers are one or more of the following:

          • presenting descriptive information on a topic
          • supporting a thesis by developing only one side of an issue
          • offering a solution to a problem as in a design project


      The aim of inquiry is different. It is an attempt to reach an understanding by asking
      critical questions, seeking answers to those questions through research, and by
      weighing findings on all sides of an issue.

       

      The Art of Inquiry