A Guided Inquiry Approach to Teaching the Humanities Research Project
by Randell K. Schmidt, Emilia N. Giordano, and Geoffrey M. Schmidt
August 2015, 192pp, 8 1/2 x 11
1 volume, Libraries Unlimited

Paperback: 978-1-4408-3438-7
$50, £39, 44€, A69
Please contact your preferred distributor for pricing.
eBook Available: 978-1-4408-3439-4
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With the advent of the CCSS and its stress on inquiry and writing skills, this is a timely book for high school librarians looking for practical, user-tested materials to help them teach research skills.

Aligned with the Common Core, this book enables teachers and librarians to develop lessons and workshops as well as to teach high school students how to research and write a humanities paper using a guided inquiry approach.

Being able to use the inquiry process to successfully research, write, and prepare papers and others types of presentations is not only necessary for a student’s preparation for collegiate work, but is truly a requisite life skill. This book provides a solid guided inquiry curriculum for cultivating the skills needed to properly investigate a subject in the humanities, interrogate both textual and non-textual sources, interpret the information, develop an understanding of the topic, and effectively communicate one’s findings. It is a powerful and practical guide for high school humanities teachers, school librarians, community college humanities teachers and librarians, and early college-level humanities instructors as well as for high school and college students who want to learn how to conduct and write up humanities research.

Part one comprises a teacher’s practicum that explains the power of guided inquiry. Part two contains student’s workshops with instructions and materials to conduct a guided humanities project and paper on the high school level. The third part provides materials for a professional development session for this assignment as well as assessment tools and other supplementary materials such as student handouts. Based on the authors’ 15 years’ experience in teaching guided inquiry, the 20 workshops in the book use a step-by-step, constructivist strategy for teaching a sophisticated humanities project that enables college readiness.


  • Presents 20 workshops that provide deep detail in humanities study, interrogation of sources, note taking, and developing the research question
  • Includes teachers' practicums that explain guided inquiry and humanities study
  • Explains methods that will enable students to learn how to interrogate drama, photos, art, artifacts, garments, music, political cartoons, speech, fiction, and nonfiction
  • Describes the Information Search Process within the structures of a step-by-step workshop environment that serves both research and writing
Randell K. Schmidt is head librarian at Gill St. Bernard's School in Gladstone, NJ. Her published work includes Libraries Unlimited's A Guided Inquiry Approach to High School Research. She is also the lead author of Teaching the Scientific Literature Review: Collaborative Lessons for Guided Inquiry, Second Edition. She holds a Master of Divinity degree from Princeton Theological Seminary and a Master of Library Science degree from Rutgers University.

Emilia N. Giordano is assistant librarian at Gill St. Bernard's School in Gladstone, NJ. She holds a bachelor's degree in liberal studies with a concentration in media and is a master's degree candidate in media studies with a focus on participatory learning and digital media from The New School for Public Engagement in New York City. Giordano has taught the scientific literature review at the high school level and a ninth-grade course on guided inquiry in basic research skills. She has also taught humanities research skills to tenth-grade students. On all high school levels, Giordano has integrated media literacy instruction to promote information and digital literacies as well as to encourage media activism and civic engagement.

Geoffrey M. Schmidt is director of curriculum and instruction at Phoenix Charter School in Springfield, MA. He is a graduate of Lehigh University with a bachelor's degree in English. A New York City Teaching Fellow, he has taught English and creative writing in three New York City public schools. Schmidt holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from The New School in New York City and a Master in Education Leadership at the Urban Principals Academy of Lehigh University.


" It could be useful for those of you working closely with first-year composition instructors. Hopefully more high school students will experience these types of projects and come to college ready to push even further."—The Ubiquitous Librian, July 13, 2015

"[C]learly explained. Emphasis is placed on the collaboration of students, teachers, and school librarians; and on the role of the school library as the 'hub of an information network.' This is a valuable tool for preparing high school students for research projects in high school and college."—VOYA, March 17, 2016

"By training I am an applied psychologist primarily working on research and practice in the area of employee selection. I have taught research methods at the undergraduate and graduate levels and can only say that when I started out I wish I had a roadmap for my area of expertise as clear, concise, and helpful as this volume. What makes Schmidt, Giordano & Schmidt (2015) effective is its weaving of theory, research, and practice into an easy to follow, very logical presentation of how to instruct young scholars conduct a research project in the Humanities. I was very impressed with the six chapters describing the process, each one concise and complete in detailing the focal topic and then how these chapters easily flowed into the 20 student workshops that further deconstructed the methods of inquiry. I was particularly struck by Chapter 4, 'Interrogation of Sources', with its clear delineation of how this research is not necessarily something that comes naturally to all. The vast array of examples helps guide the understanding of even those less inclined to the process to fully understand source interrogation. Workshop 13 provides 16 examples of source entities from allusions to art work to legal documents and more on how one might approach interrogation of that type of source. Overall the book allows those using it to start with an effective teaching framework and apply their own style and experiences to the process. I'm very impressed with the thought and expertise that went into producing this fine instructional guide."—Rick Jacobs, Professor of Psychology at Penn State University
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