ACRL Framework: Research As Inquiry/Searching as Strategic Exploration

Misti and I went through the ACRL Framework as we developed outcomes for our information literacy sessions. I will now outline each frame. These two frames have quite a bit of overlap, so I’ll explore them together.

Research as Inquiry:

Research is iterative and depends upon asking increasingly complex or new questions whose answers in turn develop additional questions or lines of inquiry in any field.

Searching as Strategic Exploration:

Searching for information is often nonlinear and iterative, requiring the evaluation of a range of information sources and the mental flexibility to pursue alternate avenues as new understanding develops.

Research can be seen as a fun journey! Sometimes a scholar starts a paper or essay with one thesis in mind, and questions posed by other scholars leads them in a wholly different direction. Other times, researchers must manipulate the scope of an inquiry. Occasionally we start too broadly with a search. “Form in Beethoven piano sonatas” would yield hundreds of results. Sometimes we are too narrow – “analysis of the third movement of Mozart’s clarinet concerto” would maybe get you two. Young scholars often get trapped in their dead-ends and may not know that reference librarians are available to guide their search.

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