Group Investigations (classroom)

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Facilitating Group Investigations active learning activities in a classroom.

Time and Effort

Instructor Prep TimeLow
Student Activity TimeMedium
Instructor Response TimeMedium
Complexity of ActivityMedium


Group Investigation has student teams plan, conduct, and report on in-depth research projects. These projects provide opportunities for students to study a topic intensely and gain specialized knowledge about a specific area. Students select topics of significance to them, form interest groups, and carry out their research on that topic.


Use it when you want...

  • To have students recognize that research is a logical, well-organized endeavor that differs from one discipline to another,
  • To have students enhance their understanding of the importance of discovery, or
  • To have students gain experience in giving and receiving constructive criticism.

What students will need

  • No special requirements for this approach.


The following workflow is meant as guidance for how you can facilitate a Group Investigations learning activity within a classroom.


  • Decide how topics will be selected, what resources you will accept, and how students will report their findings.
  • Develop a case study handout with a series of questions to guide students’ analysis using Google Docs and/or create a Zoom session in which students with work collaboratively.


  • Have students brainstorm potential topics that fit within your parameters. From the list generated by students, select the topics for the assignment.
  • Form teams based on topic interest. 
  • Give teams time to organize their efforts. Have them prepare a prospectus in which they formulate their research questions, state the goals of the project, and identify the resources they will need to carry out their investigation. They should choose the method they will use, then divide up, and assign tasks.
  • Ask groups to begin their investigation by gathering and reviewing information, deciding whether more information is needed, and analyzing and interpreting the results.
  • Have groups prepare their final report.


  • Students submit final reports.
  • Review final reports and provide feedback/grades to group participants.
  • Discuss the results of the activity at the next class meeting.

Accessibility and Room Considerations

Technical Documentation


Barkley, Elizabeth F. et al. Collaborative Learning Techniques A Handbook For College Faculty. Wiley, 2014. pp. 255-260.

See Also:

Keywords:group investigations, group work, active learning, classroom, problem-solving   Doc ID:104144
Owner:Timmo D.Group:Center for Teaching, Learning & Mentoring
Created:2020-07-20 08:51 CSTUpdated:2021-09-01 07:20 CST
Sites:Center for Teaching, Learning & Mentoring
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