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Research guide: Stage 1. Exploring your topic

Your guide to the research process and use of digital tools to use and create information effectively and ethically.

Exploring  your topic

At this stage you can:

Explore print and online reference materials to get an overview of the inquiry and topic chosen.


Use concept-mapping software to map, classify and extend prior knowledge and ideas about inquiry.


Use Bloom's taxonomy to generate higher order questions.


Develop a physical or virtual space to organise the inquiry - eg.  OneNote, blog, wiki.


Develop tools to manage the project timelines eg. notification apps, charts.

The inquiry process Stage 1 Exploring: outcomes (for teachers)

Initiating Inquiry, choosing the topic, developing questions.

Knowledge and Understanding: The student:

  • identifies the purpose and features of the inquiry.
  • identifies how the topic suits the purpose and features of the inquiry
  • uses prior knowledge and understandings to connect to the topic
  • identifies a variety of questions about the topic

 Thinking: The student:

  • develops essential questions about the inquiry
  • uses a variety of strategies and resources to choose a relevant topic
  • uses evaluation criteria for building effective questions for inquiry

Communication:  The student:

  • explains how understanding about the inquiry developed, using a variety of forms
  • uses conventions, vocabulary, and terminology related to choosing the topic for inquiry
  • explains answers generated about the chosen topic, using a variety of forms 

Application:  The student:

  • applies collaborative skills to help understand the purpose and features of the inquiry
  • transfers current knowledge and skills to modify choice of topic of the inquiry
  • makes connections between current and past questions/answers

Together for Learning: School Libraries and the Emergence of the Learning Commons.

Together for learning: school libraries and the emergence of the learning commons. A vision for the 21st century 2010, Ontario School Library Association, Pdf, accessed 27 July 2015, <>.