Defining Guided Inquiry Design and Making

  • Young girl working on a project, using cardboard and pipe cleaners. This study used Guided Inquiry Design (GID)®, based on Kuhlthau’s (2004) Information Search Process (ISP) research model, which is a framework for designing pre-K to 12th grade inquiry integrated with curriculum. The process has eight phases - Open, Immerse, Explore, Identify, Gather, Create, Share, and Evaluate - to give students the time and the guidance to identify their inquiry questions (Kuhlthau, Maniotes, & Caspari, 2015). GID enhances the traditional inquiry model by providing a framework that supports school librarians and teachers’ facilitation and provides scaffolds for the learner throughout the research process. This is a process where the learners are creating their own questions around a curriculum topic and standard, and where the learning is personally relevant to them. In GID, the learners not only reflect on their products but also on the metacognitive processes involved in their learning. Among many other inquiry models, GID has been developed and researched in the context of school libraries since the 1980s. 

    Learning by Making involves finding out about an issue (inquiry), proposing solutions to a need (ideation), and designing and testing the solution (tinkering, hypothesis testing, problem-solving) for a real audience. Learning by Making is heavily focused on design, creativity, and hands-on application and transfer of knowledge. 

    Guided Inquiry Design® and learning by Making share a process-oriented and student-centered constructivist approach. While GID is usually aligned with the curriculum and follows a predefined inquiry process guided by the teacher, Making programs often provide even more autonomy to students, who are encouraged to explore topics of their own interest or pursue projects they initiate.