Active Learning on

Developing Enquiry Skills

Enquiry is fundamental in helping students understand the nature of the historical process and also vital to developing their ability to study independently and effectively by the age of 18 as a preparation for university and life outside education.

This section discusses the importance of ‘Enquiry’ and how we can build – through structured and guided work – understanding of the process of historical enquiry into courses.

The discussion is structured in four parts:

1. Why is Historical Enquiry important? [ HERE … ]

2. How does the Enquiry process fit into KS3? [ HERE … ]

3. How can Enquiry be used constructively at GCSE and A Level? [ HERE … ]

4. How does the Enquiry process contribute to work at historical sites and museums? [ HERE … ]

You can download this complete discussion as a PDF [ HERE … ] or read it on-screen, starting with PART 1.

Downloads and More Discussion

Download this entire ‘Enquiry’ discussion [ HERE … ]

Download the ‘Enquiry & Sense of Period’ Article [ HERE … ]

See also Independent Learning at A level [ HERE … ]

See also Flipped Learning and Independent Study: a 1970s Forerunner? [ HERE … ]

Activities that are linked to this discussion

The Riccall Mystery – how do we carry out historical enquiries?

Start with an imaginary excavation, finish by understanding vital ideas about enquiry. A lively and involving introduction to the process of historical enquiry.

1471: Why did Edward IV win the crown back?

A card-sort demonstrating how to use the Enquiry Process to help students study more independently and with more confidence.

Materials that Support Enquiry

Do you remember when … we did an enquiry?

This PowerPoint sequence can be used before a new enquiry to remind students of the process.

Vocabulary Cards

Vocab-cards to reinforce the hypothetical vocabulary students use during an enquiry - possible, maybe, hypothesis.

Question Dice

Question dice to prompt students with interrogative words – who, what, why?

Enquiry Section

Enquiry Skills

Importance of Enquiry

Enquiry and KS3

Enquiry at GCSE & A Level

Enquiry at Sites & Museums


Downloads Plus

Download the entire ‘Enquiry’ discussion (PDF)

Download ‘Enquiry & Sense of Period’ Article

Independent Learning at A level

Flipped Learning and Independent Study: a 1970s Forerunner?



Do you remember when … we did an enquiry?

Vocabulary Cards

Question Dice