GI Practice and Planning scaffolds

What is Guided Inquiry?

Guided Inquiry is carefully planned, closely supervised targeted intervention of an instructional team of school librarians and teachers to guide students through curriculum based inquiry units that build deep knowledge and deep understanding of a curriculum topic, and gradually lead towards independent learning.(CISSL, 2005)  It is grounded in a constructivist approach to learning, based on the Information Search Process developed by Dr Carol Kuhlthau’s extensive research over more than 30 years (Kuhlthau, 2004).

The Information Search Process (ISP) lies at the heart of GI. Because it is supported by evidence from studies carried out by Kuhlthau, (Kuhlthau, 2007, p21) Ross Todd and others (Kuhlthau et al, 2008), this model of information seeking and using behaviour is very telling. It is not a superimposed process, but describes the experience of thousands of researchers as they handle information. Since 2012, and the publication of Guided Inquiry Design: A framework for inquiry in your school (Kuhlthau, Maniotes & Caspari, 2012), a second process has been added to GI – The Guided Inquiry Design Process (GID). A surrounding pedagogy is emerging around GI, which is very timely in this country because of the Australian Curriculum’s emphasis on inquiry learning, which does not appear to have a process or scaffolding to support it (Lupton, 2014).

The focus of this section – GI Practice – is to bring together examples of Guided Inquiries for primary and secondary students, and to provide you with templates to help you design new units of work.  The idea behind this community is sharing, so please feel free to both use the existing units, to ask for assistance with the creation of new units, and to share any GI ‘s you’ve created for either the primary or secondary level.

Following are some templates for you to use in creating GI’s, primary or secondary:

Centre for International Scholarship in School Libraries (CiSSL):

From Karen Bonanno, Eduwebinar:

 From Lee FitzGerald, CSU


Centre for International Scholarship in School Libraries (CISSL), Guided Inquiry. Retrieved from:

Kuhlthau, C. (2004) Seeking meaning: A process approach to library and information services. Westport CT: Libraries Unlimited

Kuhlthau, C., Maniotes, L. & Caspari, A.(2007) Guided Inquiry: Learning in the 21st century. Santa Barbara, California, Libraries Unlimited.

Kuhlthau, C., Heinstrom, J. & Todd, R. (2008) The ‘information search process’ revisited: is the model still useful? Information research, 13/4 

Kuhlthau, C., Maniotes, L. & Caspari, A. (2012) Guided Inquiry design: A framework for learning in your school. Santa Barbara, California, Libraries Unlimited.

Lupton, M. (2014) Inquiry skills in the Australian Curriculum v6: A bird’s-eye view, Access, 28/4, pp8-29

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