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The Information Inquiry Process: The Process

The Information Inquiry Process

The Inquiry Model


Starting the research process requires us to 

What is it we want to learn?  The presentation of details that we already know or  that are easily accessible--answering questions like who, what, when, and where--is simply reporting. To engage in research we seek answers to broader, more open-ended questions to which there may be no clear or undisputed answers. The process we engage in forces us to think.

Learn how to define your research question in our guide
Asking Essential Questions.


Answer questions requires

In an age when information is, quite literally, at our finger tips, it can be easy to assume that the answers to our questions are as simple as a quick internet search.  However, gathering information from a variety of sources provides us with a greater variety increases our chance of not only learning new facts, but also of encountering diverse viewpoints we can use to construct our own ideas and opinions.  

Use our library's print and subscription resources, alongside your search of the open web to explore different answers to your question. Research guides created especially for the projects you're working on will help you get started. 

Use our guides to help you sharpen your access skills:

Go Google Scholar
Scholarly Journals vs. Popular Magazines


As you gather sources, you'll 

Analysis allows the researcher to 

  • establish credibility
  • recognize viewpoint/biase
  • compare insights/theories/solutions

As you make your analysis, you'll be able to develop a unique thesis that answers your essential question.  An informed thesis is supported by multiple credible sources, which you'll demonstrate through citation.

During this part of the process, researchers often discover "weaknesses" in the information they've gathered.  The process becomes, recursive as you access and analyze additional resources.

Learn how to use your resource analysis in Developing a Thesis

Check out our Guide to Critical Reading 

Review how to Use Your NoodleTools


With research, the new information will

Using what you already knew and  what you have learned through both access and evaluation, you will be in a position to create answers to your research question that uniquely fit your needs.


The final step in research is to

Evaluating the process, you'll be prepared to answer questions regarding your research and, if needed, to move towards new research that builds on what you have learned.

Library Information and Media Center - Monona Grove High School - Monona, Wisconsin

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