Skip to Main Content

Information Search Process & Guided Inquiry

Guided Inquiry Books

 Kuhlthau, C. C. ( 2004).  Seeking meaning: A process approach to library and information services. 2nd edition, Westport CT: Libraries Unlimited.

Seeking Meaning was first published in 1993. It has since become a widely used professional resource and required reading in library and information science schools in the United States and abroad. This book offers essential knowledge for anyone providing library and information services. Library and information services for intellectual access“ the interpretation of information and ideas within sources-and the process of seeking meaning are detailed. Presented is a theoretical framework for a process approach to library and information services, which was developed in a series of studies of the Information Search Process of users. The framework has helped to illuminate the user's perspective of information seeking, and has offered insights into pressing problems of seeking meaning in an overabundance of information. 

Kuhlthau, C. C., Maniotes, L. K. & Caspari, A. K. (2007). Guided Inquiry: learning in the 21st century. Westport CT: Libraries Unlimited.


Noted researcher Kuhlthau has teamed up with a curriculum specialist and a museum educator and to create this foundational text on Guided Inquiry, a dynamic, integrated approach to teaching curriculum content, information literacy, and strategies for learning. Grounded in Kuhlthau's Information Search Process and built on solid professional practice, this innovative team approach inspires students to gain deeper understandings and higher order thinking using the rich resources of the school library, the community and the wider world. This book provides the vital tools for educators to create collaborative environments where students experience school learning and real life meshed in integral ways - learning in the 21st century.

Kuhlthau, C. C., Maniotes, L. K. & Caspari, A. K. (2012). Guided Inquiry: a framework for inquiry in your school. Westport CT: Libraries Unlimited.


Guided Inquiry prepares today's learners for an uncertain future by providing the education that enables them to make meaning from 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. 



Guided Inquiry Articles

Kuhlthau, C. C, Heinstrom, J, & Todd, R. J. (2008). The information search process revisited: is the model still useful? IR Information Research, 13(4).

Abstract: This paper examines the continued usefulness of Kuhlthau's Information Search Process as a model of information behavior in new, technologically rich information environments. It presents a comprehensive review of research that has explored the model in various settings, and documents a study employing qualitative and quantitative methods undertaken in the context of an inquiry project among school students (n=574). Students were surveyed at three stages of the information search process, during which nine feelings were identified and tracked. Findings show individual patterns, but confirm the Information Search Process as a valid model in the changing information environment for describing information behavior in tasks that require knowledge construction. The findings support the progression of feelings, thoughts and actions as suggested by the search process model. The paper concludes that the information search process model remains useful for explaining students' information behavior. The model is found to have value as a research tool as well as for practical application.

Gordon, C. (1999). Students as Authentic Researchers: A New Prescription for the High School Research AssignmentSchool Library Media Research, (2) 

Abstract: This study describes a qualitative action research study that investigated the effectiveness of an assignment for tenth graders that required primary research methods and an essay. Topics include authentic research; constructivist theory of learning; performance-based assessment; student journals; peer editing; teacher-librarian collaboration; and student and teacher responses. Their progress is tracked using the Information Search Process to identify higher order thinking.

Guided Inquiry Case Study

Kim, S.U. & Todd, R. J. The Information Search Process of English Language Learner (ELL) Students in a Guided Inquiry Project: An In-depth Case Study of Two Korean High School Students in the United States. Paper presented at the Annual Conference and Research Forum of the International Association of School Librarianship, Berkeley, California August 2008. CD Publication.

This study seeks to understand the information-to-knowledge experience of English Language Learner (ELL) students in a Guided Inquiry project undertaken by the librarian and subject teachers. As a pilot study, it provides an in-depth examination of two Korean 11th grade students in a biology class of a high school in New Jersey, U.S. During the project, data were collected through questionnaire, surveys, search journals, search sessions, observation, students' papers, and interviews. The findings of this study will facilitate the understanding on the information seeking and knowledge construction process of ELL students so that school environments, including school libraries, can provide meaningful instructional and service interventions for them.