“Just let me go at it”: Exploring students’ use and perceptions of guided inquiry

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Guided Inquiry (GI) is an emerging pedagogy based on the Information Search Process (ISP), a research-based information-literacy model identified by Carol C. Kuhlthau (1985, 1988a, 1988b, 1988c, 1989b) and operationalized by the Guided Inquiry Design (GID) process (Kuhlthau, Maniotes, and Caspari 2007, 2012, 2015). This study investigated perceptions and use of GI by Year 9 students at an Australian independent private school engaged in an inquiry unit in their Personal Development, Health, and Physical Education class focused on “Overcoming Adversity.” Two academic researchers and the school librarian collaborated on this mixed-methods study collecting data from survey questionnaires, focus-group interviews, and students’ work in digital inquiry process journals and final product presentations. Findings indicate students understand important elements of the GID process, including its independent nature, structure, and pacing through stages, and the element of choice. However, they differ on whether these aspects have a positive or negative effect on their learning and research process. An implication for GI practice from this study is a greater focus on allowing students independence and to proceed at their own pace, as expressed in a student’s comment and the title of this paper: “Just let me go at it.”.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-37
Number of pages37
JournalSchool Library Research
Publication statusPublished - 01 Jan 2018


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