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From Pre-Defined Topics to Research Questions:. An Inquiry-Based Approach to Knowledge. Today’s Presentation. Inquiry-guided learning Active learning techniques Cephalonian Method Clickers. Cephalonian Method Exercise. Cephalonian Method. 2002- Morgan & Davies,

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From pre defined topics to research questions

From Pre-Defined Topics to Research Questions:

An Inquiry-Based Approach to Knowledge

Today s presentation

Today’s Presentation

  • Inquiry-guided learning

  • Active learning techniques

    • Cephalonian Method

    • Clickers

Cephalonian method exercise

Cephalonian Method Exercise

Cephalonian method

Cephalonian Method

  • 2002- Morgan & Davies,

    Cardiff University – U.K.

  • Good first impression of the library

  • Generate enthusiasm

  • Encourage communication with librarian and peers

Courtesy Wikipedia Commons

(Morgan & Davies, 2004)

Least effort tends to be the norm

“Least effort” tends to be the norm

(Zipf as cited in Hepworth and Walton, 2009, p.80)

Traditional research approach

Traditional Research Approach

  • Instructors assign/students choose a topic for a paper

  • Students “read” encyclopedias, books, and journal articles

  • Students “regurgitate the information without processing it in any fundamental way”

    (Hepworth and Walton, 2009, p.9)

Courtesy Allentown Art Museum (

Inquiry guided learning

Inquiry-Guided Learning

“ …refers to a range of strategies used to promote learning through students’ active, and increasingly independent, investigation of questions, problems and issues, often for which there is no single answer.

(Lee, Greene, Odom, Schecter,& Slatta, 2004, p.5)

Another definition

Another Definition

“Inquiry-based learning is a process where students formulate questions, investigate widely, and create new knowledge. That knowledge is new to the student and is used by the student to answer a question, to develop a solution or support a position or point of view.”

(Branch & Solowan, 2003, p.6)

Inquiry guided learning influences

Inquiry-Guided Learning Influences

  • Socrates

  • John Dewey

  • Boyer report of 1998

Courtesy Wikipedia Commons

Courtesy Wikipedia Commons

Msu tier i writing goals

MSU Tier I Writing Goals

Students will be:

  • Contributing members of MSU’s community of scholars

  • Committed to asking important questions and to seeking rich responses to those questions

Tier i shared learning outcomes research

Tier I Shared Learning Outcomes: Research

  • Apply methods of inquiry and conventions to generate new understanding

  • Demonstrate an understanding of research as epistemic and recursive processes that arise from and respond back to various communities

Msu libraries instruction unit

MSU Libraries Instruction Unit

“…trying to reignite in them a spirit of curiosity, will, and purpose that manifests itself in independent questioning and inquiry."

(Lee, Greene, Odom, Schecter,& Slatta, 2004, p.5)

Example watch this video

Example – Watch this video


Sources at a large research institution

Sources at a Large Research Institution

  • Background /reference

  • Articles

  • Books

  • Expert opinions

  • WWW

Courtesy Wikipedia Commons

Exploring the sources

Exploring the Sources

  • Peer-to-peer learning/collaborative group work

  • Student-selected resources to library resources

  • Sample searches

From pre defined topics to research questions

Discussion About Inquiry-Guided Learning

Have you used inquiry guided learning in your library instruction classes

Have you used inquiry-guided learning in your library instruction classes?


2. No

3. Not sure

Why do you think instruction librarians would use inquiry guided learning

Why do you think instruction librarians would use inquiry-guided learning?

  • More interesting for students

  • More interesting for librarian

  • Student-centered

  • Related to course outcomes

  • All of the above

How do you think students react to inquiry guided learning

How do you think students react to inquiry-guided learning?

  • Like

  • Dislike

  • Indifferent

What is the main challenge of using inquiry guided learning for the librarian

What is the main challenge of using inquiry-guided learning for the librarian?

  • Must think on your feet

  • Time factor

  • Loss of control

  • Unpredictable responses

  • Other

Our role

Our Role

“Our role as educators is to consciously foster ways of developing motivation and attitudes that encourage information seeking in learners.”

(Hepworth and Walton, 2009, p.80)

Photo courtesy 2008 Michigan State University Board of Trustees



Boyer Commission on Educating Undergraduates in the Research University. (1998). Reinventing undergraduate education: A blueprint for America’s research university. Stony Brook, NY: State University of New York. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED424840 ). Retrieved April 26, 2010, from ERIC (on CSA Illumina) database.  

Branch, J.L. & Solowan, D.G. (2003). Inquiry-based learning: The key to student success. School Libraries in Canada, 22(4), 6-12.

Hepworth, M. & Walton, G. (2009). Teaching information literacy for inquiry-based learning. Oxford: Chandos Publishing.

Julian, S. & Benson, K. (2008, May). Clicking your way to library instruction assessment. College & Research Libraries News, (69)5, 258-260.

Lee, V.S., Greene, D.B., Odom, J., Schechter, E. & Slatta, R.W. (2004). What is inquiry-guided learning? In V. Lee (Ed.) Teaching and learning through inquiry: A guidebook for institutions and instructors. Sterling, VA: Stylus Publishing.

McKeachie, W. & Svinicki, M. (2011). McKeachie’s Teaching Tips: Strategies, research, and theory for college and university teachers. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.

Morgan, N. & Davies, L. (2004). Innovative library induction: Introducing the ‘Cephalonian Method. SCONUL Focus, 32.

Weimer, M. (2002). Learner-Centered teaching. San Francisco: Jossey-Boss.

Writing, Rhetoric, and American Cultures at Michigan State University. Retrieved from

Classroom exercises detailed in this presentation were developed jointly by the MSU Libraries’ Library Instruction Unit.

Comments and questions

Comments and Questions

Michelle Allen

(517) 884-0892

Benjamin Oberdick

(517) 884-0895

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