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"There is no way to help a learner to be disciplined, active, and thoroughly engaged unless he perceives a problem to be a problem or whatever is to be learned as worth learning. . ." -Neil Postman


The inquiry process is a key part of the Talk competency. Through inquiry, students are engaged in authentic learning experiences where they work with peers to tackle real-world questions, issues and problems. They: 


  • develop organizational, research and communication skills
  • work to propose solutions to problems
  • collaborate with peers 
  • adapt and apply their learning
  • share new ideas and knowledge with others

During the inquiry process, the teacher plans and guides learning activities, providing support as needed. 

Critical inquiry, ethnography, and action research all make use of the inquiry process and are founded on the idea that talk is an essential part of this process. In fact, reading, thinking, writing/producing, and talk are all enriched when students are engaged in inquiry. 

View or download the complete inquiry process here.


Gathering Information

Primary Sources

A primary source is an original object or document — the first-hand information or source material that is closest to what is being studied.

Primary sources include historical and legal documents, eyewitness accounts, results of an experiment, statistical data, pieces of creative writing, and photographs.

Secondary Sources

A secondary source interprets and analyzes primary sources. Secondary sources may have photographs, quotes or graphics of primary sources in them. Examples include textbooks, magazine and news articles, histories, websites and encyclopedias .


Additional Resources

The Inquiry Process website offers a wealth of resources geared towards exploring inquiry-based learning in Quebec classrooms.

The Unquiet Librarian offers a detailed example of a series of mini-inquiries based on problems and solutions.

Share information on gathering data from primary and secondary sources with students during the planning stage of the project.