Although the group I worked with consisted of two classes of 25 students operating in a team teaching environment, the sample group consisted of 40 students who completed all three SLIM questionnaires (Kuhlthau et al, 2005). Eight of these students were tracked against the group’s results, consisting of three boys and five girls. They were chosen to represent the range of ability levels in the group, from a mixture of low achievers, average achievers and high achievers. I was hoping to observe whether or not their level of academic achievement impacted on their approach to inquiry.
The How and When
Throughout the ILA, experiential data was gathered through use of the SLIM questionnaires, observation of students throughout the lessons, photos taken of different learning styles and face-to-face interviews at the end of the ILA. The three SLIM questionnaires were administered as follows:
Questionnaire #1 – Week 1: After introducing students to the topic and initiating their first brainstorming session.
Questionnaire #2 – Week 4: Many students were working in the exploration stage of the inquiry with a small group reaching the formulation stage of the search process where they began ‘centring their information gathering’ (Kuhlthau et al, 2007).
Questionnaire #3 – At the conclusion of the ILA (Week 7), after students had completed their recount to present to the Year 5 class.
Questionnaire 1 and 2 were identical, consisting of 5 questions requiring either short answer or multiple-choice responses. Questionnaire 3 also contained an additional 2 questions requiring students to express what they had learned from undertaking this research project and how they felt about their research. Other data gathered through observation was used to help clarify the analysis of the SLIM questionnaires.
Kuhlthau, Carol C., Maniotes, Leslie K. and Caspari, Ann K. (2007). Guided Inquiry Learning in the 21st Century. London: Libraries Unlimited.
Kuhlthau, Carol C., Heinstrom, Jannica and Todd, Ross J. (2005). School Library Impact Measure (SLIM) : A Toolkit and Handbook For Tracking and Assessing Student Learning Outcomes Of Guided Inquiry Through the School Library. Rutgers University: Center for International Scholarship in School Libraries.