This webpage is under construction (June 2020). 

Questions can play a central role in promoting deeper learning, irrespective of discipline. During the course of a History degree, students are traditionally asked to answer lots of questions when writing exams, essays and preparing for seminars. Yet little time is spent on training them in how to ask questions, never mind how to refine those that they have come up with. It is not surprising, therefore, that, when asked to come up with research questions for dissertations or funding proposals, even capable students struggle. This is reflective of a broader teacher-centred approach that has traditionally underpinned pedagogy in the subject.

The following two papers (more resources will be uploaded in due course) were efforts to overcome this deficit. The first is a report on an action-research project conducted while leading first-year History seminar groups at the University of Sheffield. The aim of the project was to develop novice students’ questioning skills and the conceptions of the role of questions in their learning. Especially interesting is the shift in students’ perceptions of ‘ownership’ of the question across the course of the module.

  • Jamie Wood (2011), ‘Helping Students to Become Disciplinary Researchers Using Questioning, Social Bookmarking and Inquiry-Based Learning’, Practice and Evidence of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education 6.1. Online here: (accessed 10 July 2020)

The second resource is a synthetic review of literature on the role of questioning in inquiry-based learning, completed in 2009.

Links and further reading:

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