Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to report findings of an action research on students' perceptions of their area of study, Library and Information Science (LIS). The paper aims to demonstrate how an inquiry-based learning (IBL) can help students to gain a more realistic view of their discipline and consequently become more involved in the active learning. Design/methodology/approach – The data were collected in two phases during an academic year. The data collection tools were observation, interview, and questionnaire with open-ended questions. In total, 38 first-year LIS undergraduate students at Tarbiat Mollem University (TMU) in Tehran formed the target group. The study adopted a qualitative approach to seek a deep insight into the case and did not attempt to generalize the results. Findings – At the beginning of the first semester, most of the students did not possess a clear and realistic view of their discipline and they had to cope with uncertainty and ambiguity about their future career. Employing IBL approach in teaching LIS modules was an efficient way to prepare students for deeper involvement with learning activities and it helps them to gain a better understanding of their discipline's scope, which consequently can prepare them for lifelong and independent learning in future. Research limitations/implications – LIS schools can use the suggestions in the paper to provide their students with more chances of enjoying IBL techniques. However, the paper is based on a small group of students in a specific context and the results cannot be easily generalized. Originality/value – The effects of LIS students' perceptions on their study progression have not been addressed before and this paper can enhance our knowledge on this issue.