An Annotated Bibliography/ Tips and Tricks of the Trade

If I was going to thematically label my annotated bibliography, it would be something along the lines of practical tips and tricks of the trade. While I feel that I have absorbed much of the theory and research and via my essay I have come to understand why inquiry learning is missing in action in more classrooms than not, I need to move onto the how.

The CRAP test was utilized in the selection of articles used within my annotated bibliography. That is selection of sources involved scanning for currency of the article, reliability, authority and purpose or point of view. All articles chosen have passed with flying colours. The other criteria used for selection was relevancy to my inquiry learning journey and teaching of an inquiry learning activity.

Barron, B., & Darling-Hammond, L. (2008) Teaching for meaningful learning: a review of research on inquiry-based and co-operative learning. Retrieved from

This article comprises a chapter taken from the book Powerful Learning: What We Know About Teaching for Understanding (Jossey-Bass, 2008). It thoroughly reviews research on inquiry-based learning outcomes and best practice in project-based learning, problem-based learning and design-based instruction. The authors provide evidence-based approaches to support inquiry teaching in the classroom and use examples of teaching and learning in action, further proving its value.

Firstly, by providing copious examples of proven success for inquiry-based learning in the classroom, it strengthens my conviction and desire to implement the practice. Secondly, the well-defined discussion of the methodology employed along with the practical examples, will add to my ever-increasing cache of ideas.

Chu, S., Tang, Q., Chow, K., & Tse, S. (2007). A study on inquiry-based learning in a primary school through librarian-teacher partnerships. International Association of School Librarianship.Selected Papers from the …Annual Conference, , 1.

This conference paper documents research which measured teacher effectiveness working with librarians, using an inquiry-based approach to teaching. The research documents the librarian’s contributions to teaching as well as examines the development of student skill development as a consequence of using inquiry-based learning with a teacher and librarian partnership. Results found the librarian-teacher partnership in guiding students through the inquiry-based learning project was an effective way in promoting the learning qualities of the students.

I chose this paper because of the practical application it has to my own ILA. The study was conclusively positive in support of teacher and teacher-librarian collaboration and on the effectiveness of inquiry learning in overall student outcomes. Therefore, I’ll use it to extract useful and practical pointers in my own learning activity.

Chu, S (2008). Grade 4 students’ development of research skills through inquiry-based learning projects. School Libraries Worldwide, 14(1), 10-37. Retrieved from

In this study, Chu identifies the process of gathering information through inquiry-based projects in year 4 students. The stages of formulating topics are identified as being constructing the topic; data collection and evaluation; findings and analysis and finally reporting and presentation. Throughout the process, students learn collaboration, self and time management. Conclusions are that a collaborative approach which involves teachers, librarians and IT specialists, using inquiry-based methods impacts positively in developing student’s research skills.

While I haven’t included this article in my essay, I selected it while doing my expert searching as a useful resource for my ILA, particularly as I am engaging a grade 4 cohort. It also further confirms the importance of teacher/ teacher-librarian and collaboration as a productive and successful method of implementing inquiry learning strategies.

Colburn, A. (2000). An inquiry primer. Science Scope, 23(6), 42. Retrieved from

A succinct, but informative article discussing the reluctance of teachers to use inquiry in the classroom. Colburn addresses many of these reasons and not limited to, problems of definition, inadequate preparation and management of students behaviourally. He provides some good concrete examples of how to teach inquiry in the classroom. One example is waiting a few seconds after asking the question, to give students time to think. He concludes by re-assuring us that it is a process that doesn’t happen overnight, but after the initial confusion, there will be success.

I have included this article because one of the issues I was having trouble understanding was ‘why’. Why isn’t this fantastic way of teaching used to teach. In fact, it has been quite my bee in the bonnet. Articles, such as this one help unravel the mire. But also, just having some straightforward and not brandished in theoretical jargon tips, has been refreshingly useful.

Harada, Violet & Yoshina, Joan, (2004). Chapter 1 : Identifying the inquiry-based school. In Harada, Violet & Yoshina, Joan, Inquiry learning through librarian-teacher partnerships, (pp.1 – 10). Worthington, Ohio: Linworth Publishing

Concerns by educators that students are unable to demonstrate the depth of understanding they need to have if to be successful in the 21st century world, Harada and Yoshina identify inquiry-based learning as the solution. In this chapter, characteristics of an inquiry-based school are identified; comparisons made between inquiry-based and traditional learning environments and strategies for creating inquiry into the school, suggested. The important roles the school library and the school librarian play, are highlighted.

I selected this article because it provides a quality example of a classroom environment where inquiry-learning is engaged. Connections are made to key characteristics of inquiry-based instruction/programmes, providing a good point of reference for analyzing my ILA.

Harada, V. H., & Yoshina, J. M. (2004a). Moving from rote to inquiry: Creating learning that counts. Library Media Connection, 23(2), 22. Retrieved from

The authors illustrate how to turn a rote unit of work with set questions and transmission method, into an inquiry-based unit. Examples of inquiry processes are tabulated. The article also includes discussion on the benefits of inquiry-based learning.

Again, not in my essay but chosen because of its relevance to my ILA and practical use of inquiry models in pedagogical practice. There is some difference between the authors model of the information search process and Kuhlthau’s model, which on a personal level prompted additional thinking to my model of the Information Search Process.

Kuhlthau, Carol (2010). Guided inquiry: school libraries in the 21st century., School Libraries Worldwide 16 (1) pp.1-12. Retrieved from

A concise and relevant discussion of what Kuhlthau has written much larger dissertations about. Including theory, research and discussion about what guided inquiry is and how to use it, the focus is on the teacher-librarians role in implementing inquiry learning is extremely useful. A discussion about the guided inquiry team and the necessity of setting teams up within the inquiry learning paradigm is important and pointers on how to get started, helpful.

This journal article was chosen because of the relevance to this context and as a ‘how to’ guide, significantly with regards to collaboration. The major appeal for me in this instance, though is the succinct and concise way it has been written, which I expect I will be using as a quick go to guide, instead of trowelling through much larger texts.

Kuhlthau, C & Maniotes, L. (2010). Building guided inquiry teams for 21st century learners. School Library Monthly, 26(5) 18-21. Retrieved from

Here, for students to competently move into a 21st century world, particular skills are necessary for success. These skills are able to be developed by using an inquiry learning process. Kuhlthau recommends a team of three experts who together can plan, design and implement guided units of work. Examples are provided and after each of these the authors take a closer look at how the team worked together to support learning and assessment.

This article is a follow up to the prior Kuhlthau article in that it highlights the benefits of collaboration between teacher, teacher-librarian and an expert. As writing this blog is a learning journey for me, it is important on a personal note, that I extract the important and practical ways of implementing inquiry learning and specifically from a library orientation. Articles such as this one provide me with practical, how to advice.

Smith, T. K. (2014). Elementary science instruction: Examining a virtual environment for evidence of learning, engagement, and 21st century competencies. Education Sciences, 4(1), 122-138. doi:

An excellent article which confirms engaging students in a virtual environment using an inquiry-learning process produces outcomes aligned to 21st century competencies. The author found students to be highly motivated and developed skills in technology, collaboration, problem-solving, critical thinking/inquiry and global awareness.

This article was one of those bright stars found while I was doing my expert searching, so it is a must add here in my bibliography. My enthusiasm for it stems from the fact that this study represents the way I want to teach, as a teacher-librarian. It also points the way for what I want and need to learn. While the theory and research of the above articles confirm inquiry-learning as best practice for teaching and learning, this article while certainly confirming this, also presents me with a vision for looking forward.

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