As per the Massachusetts School Library Program Standards for the 21st Century Learner:
Challenging inquiry-based research projects
There are collaboratively designed inquiry-based lessons that move beyond topical research to incorporate essential questions and authentic learning tasks. Value for original thought and personal knowledge construction is demonstrated
Scaffolded Research Projects: Research projects are scaffolded to facilitate student understanding and learning.
According to McKenzie (2000); research project scaffolding: provides clear directions, clarifies the purpose of the research assignment, keeps students on task, clarifies teacherexpectations, points students to worthy information sources, reduces studentresearch uncertainty, surprise, and disappointment, maximizes research efficiencyand learning, and creates momentum toward personal knowledge and understanding.
Student Inquiry in the Research Process: Developing Inquiry
The inquiry approach is focused on using and learning content as a means to develop information-processing and problem solving skills.
This process student-centered approach where the teacher is the facilitator of learning allows students to actively construct knowledge through involvement and by asking questions.
Best described in a recent article "We don't live in a mulitiple choice world: Inqury and the Common Core, LMC. Jan-Feb, 2012.
"Inquiry is not a clean fill in the blank search for predetermined facts a teacher has predefined. Inquiry transfers responsibility into the hands of the students. Inquiry fosters student ownership of the process and student pride in the product. It works! In a well defined unit, the teacher serves as a learning concierge and academic guide, ensuring that learning goals are met, content vocabulary is understood, and assessment is authentic."