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Section 2 Becoming a Researcher/Scholar / Chapter 5 The Nature of Inquiry

By Dr. Scott Greenberger


1. Introduction


“Every existence is an event. This fact is nothing at which to repine and nothing to gloat over. It is something to be noted and used” (Dewey, 1925/1981).


 Discovery is an activity that intersects both ordinary and scientific inquiry. Ordinary inquiry is the exploration, discovery, and understanding that occurs in everyday life, but inquiry is so common that it is often overlooked. Reading a newspaper, for example, to learn about a current event is a form of ordinary inquiry. Science, in contrast, utilizes systematic observation and experiment to discover nature. Unfortunately, modern science, with its complexity, specialization, and formality, can often seem unfamiliar, or even inaccessible. To learn science effectively, one need merely start with the familiar—discovery. This is the entry point to appreciating ordinary inquiry and making science more accessible.