Guided Inquiry Design®

A Framework for Inquiry in Your School

by Carol C. Kuhlthau, Leslie K. Maniotes, and Ann K. Caspari


All sectors of society are turning to education to solve our pressing problems. In order for our children to grow into productive citizens who live successful lives in a changing world, they need to be able to think, learn, and create, and to be able to locate, evaluate, and use information effectively to do so. "Inquiry" has become the buzz word in today's schools. But teachers are asking, "How do we do it?"

Print Flyer
Cover image for Guided Inquiry Design®

June 2012

Libraries Unlimited

Pages 188
Volumes 1
Size 8 1/2x11
Topics Librarian's Instructional Role/Inquiry Learning and Process, K-12

Today's students need to be fully prepared for successful learning and living in the information age. This book provides a practical, flexible framework for designing Guided Inquiry that helps achieve that goal.

Guided Inquiry prepares today's learners for an uncertain future by providing the education that enables them to make meaning of myriad sources of information in a rapidly evolving world. The companion book, Guided Inquiry: Learning in the 21st Century, explains what Guided Inquiry is and why it is now essential now. This book, Guided Inquiry Design: A Framework for Inquiry in Your School, explains how to do it.

The first three chapters provide an overview of the Guided Inquiry design framework, identify the eight phases of the Guided Inquiry process, summarize the research that grounds Guided Inquiry, and describe the five tools of inquiry that are essential to implementation. The following chapters detail the eight phases in the Guided Inquiry design process, providing examples at all levels from pre-K through 12th grade and concluding with recommendations for building Guided Inquiry in your school.

The book is for pre-K–12 teachers, school librarians, and principals who are interested in and actively designing an inquiry approach to curricular learning that incorporates a wide range of resources from the library, the Internet, and the community. Staff of community resources, museum educators, and public librarians will also find the book useful for achieving student learning goals.


  • Provides example session plans with starter, worktime, and reflection for each phase in the inquiry process as well as examples for pre-K though high school levels
  • Describes how to organize, design, and implement in three member instructional teams
  • Presents a complete framework for Guided Inquiry with visuals from opening to creating and sharing, accompanied by recommendations for building beyond one inquiry unit
  • Provides inquiry tool templates to implement each phase of the process
  • Interested in the companion CD with posters? Call Customer Service to order: (800) 368-6868
  • ISBN: 978-1-61069-410-0
  • With this CD-ROM, you can now visually reinforce Guided Inquiry Design concepts and engage learners with 29 images ready for printing, posting, and learning.
  • A 17" x 34" poster of the full Guided Inquiry process
  • Eight posters of the individual phases in Guided Inquiry (Open, Immerse, Explore, Identify, Gather, Create, Share, and Evaluate), each 11" x 14"
  • Reproducibles for 20 figures
Author Info

Carol C. Kuhlthau is professor emerita of Library and Information Science at Rutgers University, where she directed the graduate program in school librarianship rated number one in the country by U.S. News & World Report. She is founding director of The Center for International Scholarship in School Libraries (CISSL) at Rutgers University, where she serves as senior advisor. Her published works include Libraries Unlimited's Author Seeking Meaning: A Process Approach to Library and Information Services, Second Edition and Guided Inquiry: Learning in the 21st Century. Kuhlthau is internationally recognized for her groundbreaking research on the information search process and the ISP model of thoughts, feelings, and actions in six stages of information seeking and use.

Leslie K. Maniotes, PhD, is owner and senior consultant of BLV Consulting. As author of the Guided Inquiry Design® series, she leads professional development institutes building capacity in collaborative teams of librarians and teachers for inquiry learning. She also works with district leaders to implement systems of support that wrap around inquiry learning for greater impact. Maniotes is a lifetime educator who has 11 years of classroom experience as a National Board Certified Teacher and 5 years' experience as a Teacher Effectiveness Coach and a K–12 literacy specialist in urban and rural Title 1 schools. She earned her master's degree from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in Reading K–12 and her PhD from the University of Colorado at Boulder in Curriculum and Instruction in the Content Areas as well as an administration certification in urban educational leadership from the University of Denver. Her published works include Guided Inquiry: Learning in the 21st Century and Guided Inquiry Design: A Framework for Inquiry in Your School, both coauthored with Carol C. Kuhlthau and Ann K. Caspari.

Ann K. Caspari is education specialist at the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum and director of a professional development program for preschool teachers in the District of Columbia Public School on inquiry science for young learners. With over 20 years of experience in museum education, Caspari has worked in diverse institutions such as the National Building Museum, Calvert Marine Museum in Maryland, and the Paul Revere House in Boston. She was senior museum educator at the Smithsonian Early Enrichment Center for nine years where she led professional development seminars for educators and museum professionals in using museum resources with young children. Caspari is coauthor of Guided Inquiry: Learning in the 21st Century.

Table of Contents

ContentsList of IllustrationsAcknowledgmentsIntroductionChapter 1: Guided Inquiry Design: The Process, the Learning, and the TeamGuided Inquiry Process Phases of the Guided Inquiry Process Guided Inquiry Sessions Five Kinds of Learning Organizing the Guided Inquiry Learning Team Resources for Guided Inquiry What's Next? The Research Chapter 2: The Research Behind the Design Inside the Inquiry Process: What the Information Search Process Tells Us About Guiding and Intervening Zone of Intervention in the Information Search Process Stages of the Information Search Process Third Space: Where the Student's World Meets the Curriculum What's Next? Inquiry Tools Chapter 3: Inquiry Tools: Strategies for Guided InquiryThe Six Cs Inquiry Tools: Implementing Strategies Inquiry Tools are Interdependent Inquiry Tools for Assessment and Evaluation Inquiry Tools: Across the Guided Inquiry Process What's Next? Open Chapter 4: Open: Invitation to inquiry, Open minds, Stimulate curiosityOpen in Guided Inquiry Invite Learners In Establish an Inquiry Stance Engage the Community What is the Team Doing? What is the Learner Doing? Ideas for Open Sessions What's Next? Immerse Chapter 5: Immerse: Build background knowledge, Connect to content, Discover interesting ideasImmerse in Guided Inquiry Build Background Knowledge Connect to Content Discover Interesting Ideas What is the Team Doing? What is the Learner Doing? Ideas for Immerse Sessions What's Next? Exploring Chapter 6: Explore: Explore interesting ideas, Look around, Dip inExplore in Guided Inquiry Explore Interesting Ideas Look Around: Browsing a Variety of Sources Dip In: Relax, Read, and Reflect What is the Team Doing? What is the Learner Doing? Ideas for Explore Sessions What's Next? Identifying Chapter 7: Identify: Pause and ponder, Identify inquiry question, Decide directionIdentify in Guided Inquiry Pause and Ponder Identify Meaningful Questions Decide on an Inquiry Question What is the Team Doing? What is the Learner Doing? Ideas for Identify Sessions What's Next? Gather Chapter 8: Gather: Gather important information, Go broad, Go deepGather in Guided Inquiry Go Broad: A Comprehensive Search on Inquiry Question Go Deep: Learning from Information Within Sources Gathering Important Information Decide What is Enough What is the Team Doing? What is the Learner Doing? Ideas for Gather Sessions What's Next? Create Chapter 9: Create: Reflect on learning, Go beyond facts to make meaning, Create to communicateCreate in Guided Inquiry Reflect on Learning Going Beyond Facts to Interpret and Extend Create to Communicate Finding Authentic Audiences What is the Team Doing? What is the Learner Doing? Ideas for Create Sessions What's Next? Sharing Chapter 10: Share: Learn from each other, Share learning, Tell your storyShare in Guided Inquiry Learn from Each Other Share the Learning Tell Your Story What is the Team Doing? What is the Learner Doing? Ideas for Share Sessions What's Next? Evaluation Chapter 11: Evaluate: Evaluate achievement of learning goals, Reflect on content, Reflect on processEvaluate in Guided Inquiry Evaluate Achievement of Learning Goals Reflect on Content Reflect on Process What is the Team Doing? What is the Learner Doing? Ideas for Evaluate Sessions What's Next? Building Guided Inquiry Chapter 12: Building Guided Inquiry in Your SchoolThe Research: Follow-up Studies of the Information Search Process Building Guided Inquiry: Content and Process Culmination Conversations for Building Guided Inquiry Building Guided Inquiry as a Way of Learning Across the Grades Building a Collaborative School Culture Getting Started and Sustaining Change Building Guided Inquiry in Your School List of ResourcesReferencesIndex



"Guided Inquiry Design: A Framework for Inquiry in Your School provides a wealth of information on how to use guided inquiry to create a student-focused learning environment . . . This book is immensely useful for K–12 teachers and school librarians, as well as for academic librarians who are interested in adapting the guided inquiry process for one-shot information literacy workshops or semester-long research skills courses."Endnotes: The Journal of the New Members Round Table

"Drawing on experiences and research, the work will encourage, enable, and support the use of guided inquiry into any school, using examples and supporting findings. This is a welcome addition to any professional development collection in any academic setting."ARBA

"This research-based framework walks teachers through the inquiry process with a focus on collaboration and modeling. . . . This book makes visible to students the many things that researchers intuitively do during inquiry and makes it easy to apply for teachers and librarians."Library Media Connection

"The opening chapter provides an overview of the eight-step Guided Inquiry Design Process. . . . Subsequent chapters delve deeply into each step, backing it up with research, and showing how the larger team contributes to it. The final chapter explores 'Building Guided Inquiry in Your School.' Logs, diagrams, charts, and session plans clarify the process further and give you practical help for incorporating Guided Inquiry Design into your library program."School Librarian's Workshop


"After years of working with an Inquiry Process model, our librarians read Guided Inquiry and Guided Inquiry Design and participated in Dr. Maniotes' workshops. Dr. Maniotes' insightful seminars and coaching sessions helped our librarians understand that we needed to adjust our focus from imposing the model on project design to using the model to support student learning needs. We have revised our Inquiry Process model and integrated many of the principles of Guided Inquiry Design into the district's language arts curriculum and library instructional practice." —Mary Keeling, Supervisor, Library Media Services

In the News

TLTalkRadio, Guided Inquiry Design with Leslie Maniotes, 11/29/2017

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