What is Inquiry?

An inquiry, according to Google definitions, is an act of asking for information. Merriam-Webster says that the definition of inquiry varies: a request for information, an official effort to collect and examine information about something, or the act of asking questions in order to gather or collect information. Dictionary.com states that the information must be truthful or knowledgeable and it could also be a type of interrogation. Some synonyms related to inquiry are examination, inquisition, investigation, research, or study. Thirteen.org inform us that we carry the process of inquiry from the time we are born, for example “babies observe faces that come near, they grasp objects” etc. and these are forms of the process of inquiring. Inquiry is not about finding the correct answer but rather finding solutions to questions or issues.

Inquiry Based Learning (IBL) is an approach to increase learning through the “development of a hands-on, minds-on and research-based disposition.” Inquiry based learning does not have to be just about asking questions but rather using the answers to those questions and converting that information into useful knowledge. Different fields of studies use inquiry based learning such as the studies of anthropology, social studies, health sciences, chemistry, biology, math, art, and many more.

Not everyone agrees on what inquiry and inquiry based learning is. Different sites express different opinions on inquiry and inquiry based learning. People tend to disagree on who should learn through inquiry. For example, one site stated that inquiry based learning should be taught so students can learn to use the data they are given. They also argue that schools should go beyond “memorizing facts and information” because that is not the most important skill in today’s world. People also argue that inquiry is not just about scientific method but focuses on the intellectual problem-solving skills. Some people say that the answers to the questions should be truthful and others say they only need answers. I found that many misconceptions about inquiry and inquiry based learning overlapped such as how inquiry is thought to be the only true method of learning.

 

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/inquiry

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/inquiry?s=t

http://www.thirteen.org/edonline/concept2class/inquiry/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inquiry-based_learning#Characteristics_of_Inquiry-Based_Learning

 

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