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Information Literacy: Research as Inquiry

Research as Inquiry -
Recognizes need for further research, defines scope of research question

From the Framework

Knowledge Practices

Learners who are developing their information literate abilities

  • formulate questions for research based on information gaps or on reexamination of existing, possibly conflicting, information;
  • determine an appropriate scope of investigation;
  • deal with complex research by breaking complex questions into simple ones, limiting the scope of investigations;
  • use various research methods, based on need, circumstance, and type of inquiry;
  • monitor gathered information and assess for gaps or weaknesses;
  • organize information in meaningful ways;
  • synthesize ideas gathered from multiple sources;
  • draw reasonable conclusions based on the analysis and interpretation of information.


Learners who are developing their information literate abilities

  • consider research as open-ended exploration and engagement with information;
  • appreciate that a question may appear to be simple but still disruptive and important to research;
  • value intellectual curiosity in developing questions and learning new investigative methods;
  • maintain an open mind and a critical stance;
  • value persistence, adaptability, and flexibility and recognize that ambiguity can benefit the research process;
  • seek multiple perspectives during information gathering and assessment;
  • seek appropriate help when needed;
  • follow ethical and legal guidelines in gathering and using information;
  • demonstrate intellectual humility (i.e., recognize their own intellectual or experiential limitations).

Mapped to the LEAP Standards




3                                                                  2



Understands that research is iterative and depends upon asking increasingly complex or now questions whose answers develop additional questions or lines of inquiry in any field.

Recognizes the evolution of questioning within the research process. Begins to develop additional questions and lines of inquiry.

Is beginning to recognize the evolution of questioning within the research process.

Does not recognize the evolution of questioning within the research process.

Assignment Ideas

  • Students in a first year course reflect upon the steps they went through when researching a major purchase or event in their lives (buying a car, selecting a college, etc.). They identify the steps involved in the research behind such a decision, and confront the importance of such a employing a similar strategy in the academic setting.
  • In an upper level course, students trace the development of a scholar’s research agenda following a sequence of presentations, publications (perhaps starting with a dissertation topic), social media presence, etc. The students reflect upon the inquiry underlying these information packages in an e-portfolio assignment.
  • Assign students to keep research logs in which they note changes in particular research directions as they identify resources, read, and incorporate new learning.