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Abstract

Inquiry learning is a pedagogical approach that focuses on the processes and skills required to conduct research. It is a pedagogical approach that has been demonstrated to have positive learning outcomes. McMaster University has been committed to this form of learning for more than ten years in three of the faculties on campus (i.e., Humanities, Science and Social Sciences). This commitment has been in the creation of stand-alone, small class size first year inquiry classes. The current research, involving document analysis of 545 course outlines from the Faculty of Social Sciences demonstrates that inquiry learning is concentrated in first and fourth year primarily with modest amounts in second and third year courses. Results reveal cross-discipline variation. Some disciplines exhibit higher levels of inquiry (i.e., Social Work, Labour Studies and Political Science) than others (i.e., Gerontology, Geography and Anthropology). Although inquiry was more likely to occur in small classes there were examples of inquiry learning in classes with more than 250 students.

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