How To Understand Anything Using The Inquiry Process

iron manHypothetical situation: you’re a student and your teacher has tasked you with identifying a topic that is important to you, understanding it, interpreting it, and then delivering a report to your classmates. Aside from the nerve-wracking part of talking at the front of the classroom (eep!) there are a lot of things to consider. For example, how do I find my particular topic? How do I find relevant resources, interpret what I read, and then distill it all into a presentation that shows I learned … you know … something.

That’s where the inquiry process comes in to save the day. Like Iron Man screaming out of the sky, it’s a useful process to help beat back all those difficult challenges. Only probably with less repulser rays. Okay, too much Iron Man for today. Anyway, the inquiry process is a 4-step process that you should know about. Here’s the basic idea.

Quick aside: like the graphic on the right? I worked probably too hard on that thing. I know it’s nonsensical but thought you’d enjoy!

The Inquiry Process

Check out the fabulous visual below that maps out everything in a flowchart. It’s quite clear and great for someone looking to get the basics of the process plus have something colorful to print out. Who doesn’t love printing stuff out!?!

Step 1: Pose real questions! Ask things like ‘what do I know about my question?’ and ‘what do I need to know?’ You may not know the answers at first but write these type of questions down. You’ll need them later.

Step 2: Find useful resources: Ask yourself questions like ‘Where do I find quality resources?’ Hint: not Wikipedia. Now go find those resources and start keeping track of them.

Step 3: Interpret all that information you just acquired in step 3. Ask yourself a few questions to make that happen. Stuff like ‘How is this relevant to my question?’

Step 4: Now the hard(er) part. Report your findings. Be able to know and say what the main point of your inquiry is. Ask the tough questions to yourself before going in front of your class. Their questions (and the teacher’s questions) will be nothing compared to your own rigorous preparation questions, right? Right?!

Good luck!

inquiry process