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Cultural Inquiry Process Steps: Overview

This page introduces you to the Cultural Inquiry Process (CIP). The page titled, "Cultural Inquiry Process Steps: Conducting Your Own CIP Study," helps you understand how to use the Guidebook section of this Web site to support conducting your own CIP study.

As you read these pages, you may want to use the links provided to read the items they describe. If you do follow a link, please remember to return to these introductory pages and finish reading both of them before starting your own CIP study.

Cultural Inquiry Process (CIP) steps

The Cultural Inquiry Process (CIP) has seven basic steps:

  1. Select as your focus one or more students and identify your puzzlement(s) about the student(s).

    In this step you consider possible foci for your study and select one as the focus of your CIP study. (See the following note for a discussion of using the CIP with puzzlements not related to students.)

  2. Summarize what is already known about the focus individual(s) and the context.

    In this step you collect and summarize easily available information about your focus student(s) as a first step in increasing your understanding about your puzzlement.

  3. Consider alternative cultural influences and select one or more of them to explore.

    In this step you carefully consider possible cultural influences on your puzzlement by reading all the CIP pages under Step 3 with your puzzlement in mind. After considering the various cultural influences presented in Step 3, you decide on one or more cultural influences to examine in your study. The influence(s) you select become the basis for your research question(s).

  4. Gather and analyze relevant information as needed.

    In this step you collect and analyze information to examine whether and how the cultural influence(s) you selected in Step 3 are related to your puzzlement. After analyzing the information you collected, you decide what cultural influences seem to be relevant to understanding your puzzlement. These influences provide the basis for your work in Step 5.

  5. Develop and implement intervention(s) as needed.

    In this step you design and implement intervention(s) based on the information you collected and analyzed in Step 4 and the decision you made about cultural influences.

  6. Monitor the process and results of intervention(s).

    In this step you again collect and analyze information. This time the focus is on monitoring the process and results of your intervention(s) to see what effects your intervention(s) are having in relation to your puzzlement.

  7. Write a report of your CIP study.

    In this step you write your report of your CIP study, describing what you did, what you found, your reflections on what you found, and what you think are the implications of your study for educational practice and future research.

As the summary of Step 7 and the CIP logo suggest, the end of the CIP takes you back to the beginning, with new understandings, but possibly also with new puzzlements. Thus, the CIP can provide the structure for an ongoing process of inquiry focused on improving your teaching (or other educational) practice.

Moving through the CIP steps

In general, you will proceed through the CIP steps one step at a time. However, you may find that you need to cycle back through one or more steps as you conduct your study, creating more of a "spiral" process. For example, if at the end of Step 4 you decide (on the basis of the information that you have collected and analyzed) that the cultural influence(s) you selected in Step 3 are not appropriate, you might reread the pages of Step 3 in light of your data to identify a more appropriate cultural influence. A visual diagram of the CIP presents an overview of the process of moving through the seven CIP steps. (The diagram is in PDF format and will open in a new window.)

With this basic overview in mind, you may find it helpful to read some CIP studies that other educators have conducted. These provide a wide range of examples showing how educators have used the CIP to improve the educational experiences of students. If you decide to read some CIP studies at this point, return here afterward to finish this page.

Complete your introduction to the Cultural Inquiry Process by reading "Cultural Inquiry Process Steps: Conducting Your Own CIP Study."

CIP Web site © 1999-2004 Evelyn Jacob. All rights reserved.