Research questions for inquiry learning
Here are some key questions for any topic you are researching. They will help focus your research and inquiry.
Questions: If your inquiry is about a person (a biography)
- Who is the person? Write their full name including the maiden name for a married woman (a maiden name is the family name of the woman before she was married) Include any nicknames for the person.
- When was he/she born?
- When did he/she die?
- Where was he/she born? Name the place and tell about father, mother, brothers and sisters.
- Where did he/she live at the time of his/her achievements?
- What did he/she achieve?
- What other people were involved?
- What problems had to be overcome?
- Why is this person remembered?
- Is there something named after this person? Describe it.
- How is what he/she achieved affected others?
In a biography the years of the birth and death are usually presented after the person's name like this:
Dolly Madison (nee Payne) (1768 -1849)
Clinton,(Bill) William Jefferson Blythe (1946- )
Questions: If your inquiry is about a country, a city or a town.
- Where is this place? Tell where in the world it is and which other countries are nearby or where in a country is the town or city.
- What is it like there? Describe the geography of the place. Geography is the land forms such as mountains, rivers, forests, lakes etc. Tell about the climate. Climate is about the weather.
- What animals and plants are there? Describe the native flora and fauna.
- When was the country discovered? Tell who discovered it and who were the first to live there. Or tell when the city or town was founded and by whom. Explain why this place was settled? How it came to be discovered/settled.
- What are the country's main cities or landmarks?
- What is the flag or emblems of the country/city?
- What money do the people use?
- Who lives there now? Has there been migration of people coming from other places to live there?
- How do the people live? Describe their houses, their work, transport, festivals, religions, schools, entertainment, sports.
- How is the place governed? Who makes the laws? How do the people choose their leaders? Is there a voting system?
- What is produced in the place? What primary and secondary industry is there?
- What famous sights/sites are there?
- Who are the famous people of the place?
- How can someone get there?
Questions: If your inquiry is about an animal
- What is it? Tell to which animal family it belongs and what are its relatives.
- What does it look like? Describe its shape, size, covering, colour, special body features.
- How does it move?
- Where does it live? Tell where in the world the animal is found.
- What is its habitat? Tell about the kind of natural environment the animal lives in and why it is suited to this environment.
- What does it eat? Describe how it get its food.
- How does it reproduce? Explain the life cycle, method of reproduction and how the animal cares for its young.
- How does it protect itself? Tell what enemies it has.
- What is this animal's status? Is it common, rare, endangered? If endangered are there special programs to conserve the species?How might you help the conservation of this species?
Questions: If your inquiry is about an object/invention (non-living)
- What is it ?
- What is or was it used for?
- What is it made of?
- How is it made?
- Where is it made?
- What does it look like? Describe its appearance including colour, size, shape etc;
- What are the parts of the object?
- How does it work?
- Who invented it?
- Who helped develop?
- Who made/built it?
- Why was it invented?
- What did it replace?
- What impact has it had on people?
- How do you think it can be improved?
- What might be the next development?
Questions: If your inquiry is about a plant.
- What is it? Tell to which family it belongs.
- What are its relatives?
- What does it look like? Describe its shape, size, colour, leaves, flowers, fruit etc.
- Where did it originate? Tell where in the world this plant first grew.
- What is its natural environment? Describe the soil and climate that suits this plant.
- How does it reproduce?
- How does it protect itself? Tell what threatens it.
- What products, if any, are made from this plant? Tell who uses it to make something.
- How is the plant processed to make something?
- What is the plant's status? Is it common, rare, endangered?
- If endangered, what are the programs to conserve it?