Communities of Inquiry

A community of practice is defined as a “group of people who share a concern or a passion for something they do and learn how to do it better through regular interaction”.  [Canadian Health Services Research Foundation:  Issue #12, March 2006.  Wenger, Etienne.  Etienne Wenger on Communities of Practice.]

Our team has borrowed from this concept to build “communities of inquiry”.  This is a process that is generated both from the ‘bottom up’ and from the ‘top down’.  The ‘bottom up’ takes the approach that sustained interest in conducting research and evaluation must be generated at the grass-roots level.  This is the level of the practitioner who sees a problem in his/her every day work and wants to investigate or evaluate it in order to understand it and come up with solutions.  ‘Top down’ refers to capturing the interest and attention of decision-makers by illustrating how research and evaluation and the evidence that arises from these activities can benefit the institution at an individual, administrative and policy level. 

The community of inquiry template provides an easy illustration of how a COI can be formed.  For further information on establishing COI’s, contact Samar Hejazi at or 604-587-4438.