What is Inquiry?

There are a million reasons to conduct research: the desire to satisfy curiosity; to learn something new; to prove someone wrong or question the status quo; to confirm suspicion or belief; to find a different way to a given endpoint. Research is a systematic inquiry or investigation into facts and principles, made in an effort to generate knowledge. We conduct research to add to existing knowledge, to discover or invent, to test, confirm, prove, question, explore, and learn. This module offers ways to achieve functional fluency in basic concepts associated with social scientific inquiry – including direct and indirect variables, causation vs. correlation, induction vs. deduction, and hypotheses. By the conclusion of this series, you should be able to distinguish between the modes of social scientific inquiry and those of appreciative inquiry, and gain an understanding of grounded theory, sense-making inquiry, and analytical vs. lateral thinking. In addition, you should be able to deconstruct and map an argument, conduct a literature review, and write research questions and problem statements.

Keywords: inquiry, literature review, systematic inquiry, research

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