Exploring the Lived Experience of Middle School Students Engaged in Inquiry Based Learning

  • Shelly BuchananEmail author
Conference paper
Part of the Communications in Computer and Information Science book series (CCIS, volume 676)


This paper discusses the phenomenological investigation and study findings of middle school students engaged in a unique Inquiry Based Learning (IBL) model named here as Student Driven Inquiry (SDI). SDI is a form of IBL that privileges student autonomy. Phenomenology allows an in-depth look into the student lived experience through the use of open-ended interviews. This pilot study elicited six common themes of student experience: joy in study immersion; appreciation for autonomy; satisfaction with self-selected topic; enthusiasm for learning; considerations of time management; and stress in project completion. These themes suggest the SDI model is one of deeper, joyful student engagement and learning with a certain measure of stress. The student perspective of the lived experience of SDI adds important information to the growing conversation on K-12 Information Literacy (IL), inquiry learning models, and student motivation. Implications for curriculum development, instructional practice and further research are discussed.


Information literacy Inquiry based learning Lived experience Phenomenology Project based learning Self-directed learning Student-centred learning Student driven inquiry 



I am thankful for the tireless guidance and joyful encouragement of Christine Bruce, Sylvia Edwards, and Mary Ann Harlan in writing this paper.

The Queensland University of Technology (QUT) granted permission for this research: Ethics Clearance # 1400000698.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Information Systems SchoolQueensland University of Technology (QUT)BrisbaneAustralia
  2. 2.Gateway ProgramSan Jose State UniversitySan JoseUSA

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