How to Write a System of Inquiry Paper


A system of inquiry may give a broad overview, or it might explore a subtopic, such as the field's philosophy or problems related to protocol. Systems of inquiry follow a defined format: the framework for the model, a synopsis of how, why, when, and by whom it was developed, and a description of how to implement the inquiry.

  • Plan the format of your system of inquiry. A common method involves a four-part system of inquiry. It represents the philosophy, theory, methodology and its application. An effective system of inquiry is a prescription for action. It determines the general principles, uncovers specific examples, facilitates a plan of action and how to carry out the action. A system of inquiry may use a conclusion-oriented inquiry that produces knowledge. It can also use a decision-oriented inquiry that applies systems knowledge to the formulation and selection of systems methods that address real-world situations.

  • Examine the philosophy and theoretical schemata of the field. In terms of the framework, an analysis of the philosophy of the field enables us to look at facts and events influencing the field from a holistic perspective. The values and ethical constraints are the results of these facts and events. Values and ethics are core elements in a philosophical examination of a field and need to be included.

  • Define the methodology behind the inquiry. In a system of inquiry, a writer uses the most appropriate approaches, methods and tools for the type of system, purpose and nature of the inquiry and the specific problem being addressed. For example, a pragmatist approach would look at the field holistically and reject “either/or” arguments. The methodology identifies, characterizes and classifies the field of interest. It explores the issues embedded in the field, other fields that interact with it and the larger system that defines the field. The methodology also needs to select, identify and characterize specific strategies, methods, and tools appropriate to the work with the field.

  • Consider the application of systems approaches, models, methodologies and tools for the specific functional context. At this stage, a writer might consider if the system is rigidly controlled, deterministic or purpose-seeking when deciding how to implement the inquiry. The specific domain of inquiry, such as description, analysis, design, development or management will be considered as it will affect how the inquiry will be carried out.


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