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Inquiry Frameworks

This lesson discussed three overarching models for inquiry: directed, guided, and free. Within those categories, more specific frameworks have been developed by library professionals over the years. Take a look through the below resources to get familiar with a few of them and then use the Reflect & Practice activity to think about which frameworks might be most successful within your school.



After reviewing the different inquiry models in the above resources, use the form to reflect which framework(s) would make the most to try in your school.

For more information on the evolution of different inquiry models, explore Daniel Callison's article, "Information Literacy to Inquiry: A Timeline."

About the Authors


Seth Taylor, MFA, has 20 years of experience in higher education as a teacher, administrator and professional development specialist. He has taught graduate and undergraduate courses in Rhetoric, Composition and Research Methodology San Diego State University, Colorado State University, and the University of Redlands.

Jane Cullina, MSEd, is a professional development specialist for School Library Connection. A former children's librarian and humanities teacher, Jane earned her master's degree from the Bank Street College of Education in New York City and has taught in Boston, New York, Maine, California, and South Africa.

Rebecca J. Morris, MLIS, PhD, earned her master's degree and doctorate at the University of Pittsburgh and her undergraduate degree in elementary education at Pennsylvania State University. Rebecca teaches graduate courses in school librarianship and youth library services. Rebecca has published articles in journals including School Library Research, Knowledge Quest, School Libraries Worldwide, Teacher Librarian and the Journal of Research on Young Adults in Libraries. She is the author of School Libraries and Student Learning: A Guide for School Leaders (Harvard Education Publishing Group, 2015). Rebecca is a former elementary classroom teacher and middle school librarian.


Twitter: @rebeccajm87.

Sharon Coatney is a former library media specialist from Kansas. She is a past president of the AASL and Councilor at Large of the American Library Association. She is now the Senior Acquisitions Editor for Education and School Library Products at Libraries Unlimited/Teacher Ideas Press.

Select Citation Style:
"Inquiry-Based Learning: Inquiry Frameworks." School Library Connection, July 2019,
"Inquiry-Based Learning: Inquiry Frameworks." School Library Connection, July 2019.
Inquiry-based learning: Inquiry frameworks. School Library Connection. Retrieved from

Entry ID: 2215145