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Knowledge and Skills Statement

Inquiry and research: listening, speaking, reading, writing, and thinking using multiple texts. The student engages in both short-term and sustained recursive inquiry processes for a variety of purposes.

Provide strong and weak examples of research questions and guide a discussion about what constitutes a strong research question. Then, task students with creating focused questions to guide their own research whether for formal purposes (e.g., a research paper that incorporates multiple sources into an academic essay on a topic) or informal purposes (e.g., students inquiring into a topic simply to have a better awareness of the topic). Evaluate student questions and determine how well they narrow the topic, lend to a research project, and suit the task.


Topics and tasks related to formal and informal inquiry can be student or teacher selected. For example, a student may be required to write a formal research paper but have freedom to choose the student’s topic and research questions or be required to research a topic of the teacher's choosing. Likewise, students may informally inquire into a topic to learn more about it for their own interest or based on teacher prompting.

Further Explanation

This assessment requires students to choose a topic for research and make decisions about what questions they hope the research will answer.

Students should learn that informal and formal inquiries require different types of questions. Formal inquiries require an established process and typically include a specific goal, such as arriving at a new conclusion. For example, a formal inquiry into the effects of cell phone use on adolescent attention spans might include questions such as “What is the average number of times a typical eighth grader checks his or her phone in the span of five minutes?” Students might conduct a survey of their peers and compare this to a similarly worded survey of their parents. An informal inquiry does not require the same complex process as an informal inquiry. The goal of informal inquiry is often to gain context for something or begin exploring a new topic in a general way. For example, students investigating a simple topic, such as middle school cell phone use, might ask their peers “How much time per day do you spend on your phone?”
Students should consider what they want to know about a topic and create questions that encourage investigation. Students should think about the general aspects of a topic (who, what, when, where, why, how) to create questions that narrow the focus of their inquiry. For instance, when researching an author, students might ask questions such as “Who influenced this writer?” “What topics does this author tend to focus on?” “When did this author begin publishing works?” Students should also identify opportunities for further inquiry after a discussion guided by a teacher either in a whole group or small group setting.

Related 2009 Student Expectation

This student expectation is related to the following SE from the 2009 reading/language arts TEKS.

(22)  Research/Research Plan. Students ask open-ended research questions and develop a plan for answering them. Students are expected to:
(A)  brainstorm, consult with others, decide upon a topic, and formulate a major research question to address the major research topic; and


1. Lewis, K. R., Simmons, S., & Maniotes, L. (2018). Building a culture for learner voice and choice through inquiry. Teacher Librarian, 45(4), 2427. Retrieved from

Summary: The guided inquiry design is presented as a strategy to improve student writing process. The target of the strategy is to provide more opportunities for students to be engaged in and motivated by the writing process. The inquiry design focuses on student choice and student voice incubated in a culture in which students are encouraged to ask questions and classroom instruction is guided by participatory dialogue.

2. Maniotes, L. K. (2019). Getting to great questions for inquiry and research. Teacher Librarian, 46(3), 17–20. Retrieved from

Summary: This article provides an overview on how to use guided inquiry as a means to increase students' capacity to comprehend a text. However, Guided Inquiry Design is often used as an inquiry process for research and ways to gain a deeper understanding and gain information.The article included resources that provide additional support.