Inquiry—the Way of the Core

Excerpted from the College Competencies

What does this mean in the Core and my other courses? Inquiry is the ability to identify, formulate, and communicate questions that guide investigation and reflection toward discovery; the ability to critically and thoroughly examine one’s own assumptions and the assumptions of others.

Holistic Description 

Inquiry is the manifestation of curiosity. It takes form in compelling questions that drive our creativity, test our own assumptions, and push us to engage with authentic problems and thorny issues. Successful practice of Inquiry starts with developing lines of questioning and being open to where the research leads, which could refine or redirect the questions, or lead to entirely new questions. Examining assumptions – in the questions, in the evidence found, and in oneself – can open up new pathways for exploration and ground the results in the larger context of knowledge production. Acquiring more information is its immediate result, but the capacity to inquire well is the linchpin to a life full of discovery, meaning-making and purpose.

Guiding Questions

  • What ideas, issues or contexts ignite my curiosity?
  • What is my process for developing new lines of questioning? 
  • How definitive can my answers be? 
  • How are my questions shaped by different contexts and assumptions? 
  • What unexpected pathways or questions have turned up in my research process?
  • How does the evidence I have gathered support my possible answers?
  • What are the different biases and perspectives in the evidence I have found?  
  • What assumptions do I have about this topic? Have they changed as a result of my inquiry?
More Writing in the Core
Analytical Thinking